Effective networking is not an easy task and can be intimidating.

However, the connections you make can be vital to the next sale step in your career or next business referral. To make this process less nerve-wracking, focus on learning about others. This takes the focus off you, allowing you to learn about the other person.

Consider the word gains during a networking event or anytime you meet someone new. The goal of networking is to create a mutually beneficial relationship, finding or determining if, and how, you can help solve his or her pain point or be a resource that can help advance their business.

When talking to someone new, asking them questions is the best way to get to know them. Be interested in their goals. These could be career related or related to their personal life. People also like to talk about what they have accomplished. This can help you understand what they are most proud of and how they achieved it. Asking about their interests can help you connect on a closer level. Everyone has a hobby or interest outside of their career.

When it comes to more occupational-related questions, ask about their networks and which groups have been the most significant to them. You can also learn about their skill set and what they did to obtain those qualities. They may talk about how they became interested in their professional field, or the courses and training they received to get to where they are today.

According to an article by Huffington Post titled "How to be More Likable in 10 Easy Steps," people who ask questions are often well-liked. Being liked helps you to connect and stay connected with people. The common saying rings true -- people do business with people they know, like and trust.

The chamber offers events that provide opportunity for networking practice.

Lunch & Learn sessions, Business After Hours and luncheon meetings are all low-risk environments to improve your networking skills. Check out the chamber event page to find your next opportunity to make a meaningful business contact. Remember it is good business to do business with chamber members.

Save the Date

Experience the most delicious culinary offerings from our Westerville chamber members at the 16th annual Taste of Westerville, set for 6 to 9 p.m. May 2.

The event includes 22 restaurants; wine, beer and liquor tastings; a raffle; and a silent auction. Local celebrity judges will be awarding restaurants for Westerville's Tastiest, Best Presentation and more. Guests will join in the fun by voting for their favorite restaurant for the People's Choice Award.

This is our largest spring event and you won't want to miss it. Make sure to register early; this event sells out.

All event times and details can be found at westervillechamber.com or by calling the chamber office at 614-882-8917.

Janet Tressler-Davis is president and CEO of the Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce, which provides Chamber Corner to ThisWeek Westerville News & Public Opinion.