Every college graduate, job seeker, and ambitious employee knows the value of networking, but the process of turning handshakes and business cards into a useful web of professional contacts can be daunting.
Evelyn Barahona, Joseline Mane, Colette Phillips, and Raj Sharma, however, have it figured out. These Boston businessmen and women have working a room — or an elevator, in at least one case — down to a science. They agreed to share their networking secrets that will help you make an impression.
Even though Evelyn Barahona, 36, attends networking events every week, these receptions and cocktail hours are not where she makes the strongest connections. In fact, she says, her best networking opportunities spring up in the most ordinary places: elevators, trains, even baby showers.
“I have met the most interesting, extraordinary people just by interacting,” says Barahona, director of business development for Quality Interactions, a Boston company that offers a health care e-learning program. “To me, that’s the epitome of networking.”
Barahona’s first experience with networking came early in her career when, bored with her job, she started signing up for after-work events. Early on, she went to a Hispanic-American Chamber of Commerce event and found herself overwhelmed, until one helpful attendee offered a tip that she has followed ever since.
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