How can I make myself a valuable contact to have? – Ivanka Trump

If you’ve seen her in action, you know: Ivanka Trump can work the room. We tapped our ever social founder to ask her a few of your questions on networking and making professional connections.

Should I Be Making Networking Events a Priority?

To be truthful, I hate industry networking events. I’ve been to many and they have very rarely been useful. That said, they are a starting point—and can be a worthwhile channel to explore early on in your career when you have plenty of time and little to lose. I personally find the best way to broaden your network is to make genuine connections with people across all industries, through friends or at parties. I’ve had a lot of deals come to fruition through relationships I’ve made in totally unrelated fields. Opportunities come from strange and unexpected places; it’s not always the obvious course that pans out.

How Can I Make Myself a Valuable Contact to Have?

When you’re young, you lack experience. That said, you have a fresh perspective; you’re a voice of a different generation—you will approach old problems with new eyes. This is where you can become an asset. Consider how you present yourself. Don’t talk about things you don’t know or understand. Take the initiative to form educated opinions about important topics so that you have an insightful position to share when asked.

Who are the Most Important People to me in my Network?

Diversity is key to cultivating a fruitful network. If everyone is from the same industry, they’re likely thinking about things in the same way. Step out of your comfort zone and engage with those who aren’t carbon copies of the people you work with every day.

Kiss of Death when Networking

Being disingenuous. You can’t be self-serving—it’s evident. In a networking environment, you’ll surprise people by asking questions unrelated to their field: When did you get started? What was your first job? How did you become who you are today? The person you’re speaking with will feel happy, you’ll learn some interesting things and you may find an authentic connection. I’ve found that the people who like me the most are the ones I pummel with personal questions. It’s human nature. People enjoy talking about themselves, so indulge them.

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