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How comfortable are you with your networking skills?

Some people are gifted at reading a room and knowing how to slide into a conversation. The Wall Street Journal just offered some great tips on the topic.

Do you love walking into a room full of strangers? Do you relish the chance to strike up a conversation, find common ground, make a contact, or find a way to help others? Then you probably love attending networking events. For the rest of us, we know it’s a required skill in the business world today.

There are no shortage of resources out there to help you become better at networking. Entrepreneur magazine offered five steps for improved networking skills back in May, starting with getting in the right mindset for the event. It’s not a mercenary mission about collecting business cards. It’s about starting relationships.

We also liked a feature from Forbes a couple of years ago that starts with this advice: Forget that it’s about working. It’s a play on the say theme: Getting in the right mindset. “once the interaction has been initiated, just talk. And listen. You know your business and your industry well enough to let the conversation happen organically.”

The latest came out about three weeks ago from The Wall Street Journal, complete with a video with advice from writer Sue Shellenbarger. It’s practically a how-to guide about reading a room, watching for signals and understanding when a group might be receptive to your introduction (and when it might not be).

We particularly liked the map describing a variety of groups or individuals, including the bored gaggle of networkers: “If you can join and enliven this group, you’ll be a hero.”

h/t to the National Black MBA Association for highlighting the WSJ article for us.

Pictured above: Attendees at the 2015 Orientation Program & Career Forum in Phoenix at the corporate networking receptions.

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