How TA’s Can Develop Good Networking Skills
Good networking skills are priceless in the travel industry. With a good network, you will always know someone that can help get you a good deal or get your client out of a mess. But sometimes networking can feel awkward and unnatural. What can you do to develop good networking skills?
1. Be friendly everywhere
Before you ever go to a trade show or take a FAM trip, practice being friendly everywhere you go. Ask the cashier if he’s had a good weekend. Ask your waitress how her day is going. Be friendly to strangers in public. If you make an intentional effort to be conversational and approachable in your everyday life, it’s going to feel like second nature when you’re in an environment where it’s needed.
2. Be genuine
Being friendly doesn’t mean you have to be weird or invasive. We’ve all met those people. So how do you avoid this? Be genuine! If you see someone rocking your favorite sports team jersey, share some team spirit! Show genuine appreciation if someone helps you. Pass along some encouragement. Let your friendliness simply be an overflow of what’s going on in your head – the good things!
3. Get good at listening
Oftentimes we are really good at sharing our opinions and not so great at listening. Do you ever find yourself thinking of the next thing you’re going to say rather than truly hearing during a conversation? You’re not alone! Work on paying attention during conversations and learn the type of body language that shows you’re invested in what the other person has to say.
4. Connect people to each other
If you want to be a good networker, help others make connections themselves. Be that person who always “knows a guy.” Then when your service is needed, you’ll be the first person that comes to mind.
5. Remember names
As Dale Carnegie said, “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Most people feel like they are terrible at remembering names. But the truth is that many people just aren’t listening when a name is said. When we meet people, we might be anxious or trying to think of something to say, and that causes us to tune out whatever they are saying. Focus your attention when you are making a new introduction and check out these other tips for remembering names!
6. No connection is insignificant
No connection you make is insignificant. From the small, home business owner to the barista serving coffee at the tradeshow venue. Learn to value everyone!
7. Follow up where appropriate
Find a way to follow up after exchanging contact information. Whether it is a simple, “Hey, it was so nice to meet you at the trade show!” or an interaction on social media, be sure to stay connected.
8. Social media
Speaking of social media, this is one of the best ways to stay connected with your network! You can make social media connections before AND after a travel event. Trade shows often provide a list of exhibitors – use it! Make sure your own platforms look professional and be sure to post lots of content during the event.
➡️ Read next: How to Create Shareable Content for Your Travel Agency