4 Tips for Networking in English

Networking in English can feel tough.

Most people struggle with networking in their own native language, let alone a second language. But it doesn’t have to feel so tough! Master these 4 tips and you’ll be comfortable networking in English in no time.

Networking: the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.

Maybe you’re in a hotel lounge, a crowded restaurant, a conference – You can imagine the environment. Maybe it’s designed for you to meet people, but maybe you simply recognize the opportunity.

Here’s a little secret: People want to feel known. They are more inclined to care about you if you care about them. It can be difficult to break into a conversation or a relationship, but once you are in, what matters most, at least at first, is that you are a good, kind person who cares about them.

  1. Prepare questions to ask. Come up with a list of questions and write them out in English. Practice saying them, so that you can bring them up confidently.
  2. Practice introducing yourself. Seriously. “Hey, I’m Amie. You’re John, right?” Then stick your hand out to an invisible acquaintance and pretend to shake.
  3. REMEMBER NAMES. This is everything. When someone says, “Oh hey Amie, it’s good to see you,” I think THAT PERSON IS MY FRIEND. You’ve got to remember names and details of connections.
  4. Learn to initiate. Start soft. Maybe go to your local cafe, and just ask if you can sit next to someone. Then introduce yourself… in English.
Other Helpful Things to Keep in Mind When Networking:
  1. Pay attention to “gatekeepers.” Maybe this isn’t the CEO, but it could be his assistant, his friend on the staff, his chief of staff. Often these people are easier to connect with, so get to know them, show value, and they won’t forget you.
  2. Don’t try to be loud and obnoxious. yes, that person always finds a way into the conversation, but no one really likes them. 🙂

Shadowing Exercise:

Listen to each statement from an American English speaker. Then try to repeat each phrase to practice talking like a native English speaker.

Shadowing Exercise Transcript:

So you’re from New York? I’ve always wanted to visit there. What’s it like?

How old are your kids now? What are they up to?

How long have you been working with Ernst and Young?

How is it working for Ernst and Young?

Vocab Words: 

1) “feel known” – the feeling that someone or a group of other people know you well and understand you

2) inclined – to feel favorably toward a person, idea or thing. Also, to be more likely to act a certain way.

3) break into – to gain access or ability to do something. To start something that required effort or seemed difficult

4) introduce yourself – to make yourself known by name to someone else formally

5) stick your hand out – to move your hand toward another person, usually in order to shake their hand as a professional greeting

6) acquaintance – a person you know a little bit, but not a close friend

7) connections – people you have social or professional contact with, especially people who have influence or ability to offer you help

8) gatekeepers – people who can give you access to valuable people, information, or resources

9) recognize – to identify, notice or realize something for the first time. to notice someone that you’ve met before.

10) develop – to grow or cause to grow and become more mature, advanced, or elaborate

Welcome to your 4 Tips for Networking in English

1. Thanks for remembering my name. It made me ________ .

2. Don't rush to _________ a conversation when you first walk up to a group. Be patient for the right moment.

3. If you forget his name, he won't be ________ to consider your offer.

4. Don't waste your time trying to break into the conversation circle with their company CEO right now. Its his assistant who is the real ____________.

5. Don't be afraid to introduce yourself. If you don't ___________, you won't meet very many people.

6. For extra practice, make a sentence using one or more of the vocabulary words above. 

Response / Challenge Question: 

Would you consider yourself a networker? What is most helpful for you?