Networking strategiesIf you want to step up your networking activities, but you’re not quite sure how, Rohit Bhargava has some advice. “The challenge isn’t how you can find more opportunities to network,” he writes at Influential Marketing, “but how to talk about business in an unobtrusive way.” To accomplish that goal, he offers tips like these:

Hone your conversational skills. Your networking strategy will fail before it begins if no one enjoys talking with you. According to Bhargava, great conversationalists ask leading questions, listen intently to answers and add their own personal stories to the mix.

Create a distinctive nametag. Bhargava decorates his nametags with a sticker of his book’s chicken icon. “People want to know why I have that sticker there,” he says, “and it gives me a chance not just to share the story of my book, but also to talk about my philosophy of business—which is that personality matters.”

Make friends with introducers. “These are the people,” he says, “who always come to a moment in their conversations where they say something like ‘oh, you do _______? You should talk to _____.'” Introducers are more likely to provide introductions, he notes, when you’ve made a favorable impression with your conversational ability.

Respect the nature of the event. Unless you’re at a networking event—when you can dive right in—always evaluate the situation before you start talking business.

“You should feel comfortable [networking] in every situation, as long you can avoid becoming that blowhard at an event who won’t stop trying to sell his or her company at every moment,” says Bhargava.

Source: Influential Marketing.