Networking is one of the most essential skills you can possess, especially in your career. It can help you meet new people, learn new things, and open up opportunities you would never have had otherwise. However, networking can be tricky- it’s not always easy to know what to say or do. This blog post will discuss ten tips for becoming a more effective networker!
Make an excellent first impression.
When you meet someone new, it’s vital to make an excellent first impression. You want to come across as confident and friendly. Be sure to smile and make eye contact! When meeting new people, see if they would make great friends too. A new relationship takes time to develop.
Have a firm handshake
A firm handshake is one of the most important things you can do when meeting someone new. It shows that you are confident and enthusiastic about meeting them. I don’t recommend hugs just yet. But elbow bumps are always appreciated!
Listen more than you talk.
When you’re networking, it’s important to remember to focus and listen more than you talk. You want to be interested in what the other person has to say and learn as much as you can about them. Asking questions is a great way to show that you’re listening and engaged in the conversation.
One of the most important things to remember when networking is to be yourself! People can tell if you’re being fake or trying too hard, so relax, focus on connecting, and let your personality shine through. Relaxing is the key phrase. Some people are so driven to grow sales that they forget that networking isn’t about sales. Instead, networking could lead to increased sales once those relationships are developed.
Don’t be shy
Don’t be afraid to talk to people- the more you talk, the more likely you are to make a connection. Remember to talk about your interests and ask questions about theirs.
I still remember the very first women’s networking group I attended. The whole car ride, I repeated at least 100x to myself. “You’re confident, smart, and a good person to know.” Do what it takes to develop your confidence. The more you network, the easier it will get.
Exchange Contact Information
Don’t forget to exchange business cards! This is a great way to keep in touch with people you meet. You can also connect with them on social media or on LinkedIn. You can also use a card scanner to efficiently import people into your contacts.
I also like to create a “New Contact” on my phone with my professional contact information. I text the other person my new contact info, and they can easily import this into their contacts.
After you meet someone new, be sure to follow up with them! Send them an email or connect with them on social media. This will help keep you top of mind and build a stronger relationship.
Find people on LinkedIn.
Find the people you meet on LinkedIn and ask to connect. LinkedIn is designed to allow professional people and organizations to maintain contact information for networking. Maintain connections despite career changes and moves.
Focus on quality, not quantity
When networking, it’s essential to focus on quality, not quantity. You want to make meaningful connections with people, not just collect business cards.
Don’t just add people to your email list.
It isn’t nice! You’re much better off connecting with people on a personal level first. Only after you’ve established a relationship should you ask if they’d like to be added to your email list.
One of the best ways to become a more effective networker is to invite guests to your events. This will help you build relationships with other professionals and get to know them better. In addition, it will also help you create a more positive image for yourself and your business.
Strive to help 2-3 individuals
If someone asks for a referral to someone you know, do your best to learn more about them and see if introducing them can benefit both parties.
If you see someone shy or standing alone in a corner, reach out to them and welcome them into your conversations. Introduce them to others in the room.
Help the host! The host does all of the work and rarely gets to benefit from the networking event. Helping them during the event and sometimes staying after to help clean up is a great time to connect. Then, reach out after to learn more about them and see if there’s anything you can do for them.
And finally, don’t forget to say thank you! A sincere thank-you note goes a long way.
The ten tips we’ve outlined today should help you become a more effective networker and enjoy the process of making new friends. Remember- it’s vital that you stay true to yourself while also being open-minded about other people. Networking is all about building relationships and finding common ground, so avoid overlooking anyone! Be an active participant in conversations, ask questions when appropriate, and share information from time to time.
Would you like to chat to see how I can help you grow your business through networking? Feel free to apply for a free consultation.
Janet Johnson is a small business advisor and author of My Money Pivot: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Finding & Making More Money and this educational blog. All views expressed belong solely to Ms. Johnson and do not represent the views of her employer. The website, MyMoneyPivot.com, is currently managed by Luz Marcos, Virtual Assistant.