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The Secrets Of Successful Networking Revealed
Solid networking skills are crucial for maintaining relationships from a distance. Whether you are forging new connections in person or in a virtual setting, it’s essential to know how to make each interaction meaningful and memorable.Share the article
Professional networking is about more than trading information. It serves as a way to build relationships that offer mutual professional benefits, such as:
- Sharing Industry Information And Ideas
- Enhancing Your Brand’s Visibility
- Creating Collaboration Opportunities
- Gaining Insightful Career Advice
- Improving Your Creative Intellect
- Making New Resources Available
Networking is an essential component of any successful business, primarily if the foundation of your brand depends on meaningful relationships with others. This type of networking is essential for realtors, consultants, and sales professionals who rely on relationships to drive their bottomline.
Our Top Tips To Improve Your Networking Skills In Record Time!
With new online platforms for learning and working, a new set of networking skills are needed to make professional connections successfully. Fortunately, these skills translate well to in-person networking sessions as well.
Whether you plan to attend a networking event soon or just looking to brush up on your networking skills, let’s take a look at 16 ways to enhance your networking efforts in five minutes or less.
1. Have Digital Business Cards Ready
Business cards have long been a networking staple. In a digital age, having cost-effective digital business cards allows you to easily edit your contact information and demonstrate how tech-savvy you are, which will impress new contacts.
Update your digital business card with a professional image, title, and check that your bio is current. Share this information on various networks and always send to new prospects or people you meet at conferences!
2. Observe Body Language
During your conversation, focus on the other person and observe their responses. Put down your phone and pay attention to what they are saying and how they are saying it.
This allows you to see what makes them tick and helps you to gain insight as to how this new connection can benefit your business. As you ask questions, observe their body language and listen carefully to what they say and how they say it.
3. Create A Feeling Of Familiarity
Take advantage of name tags and use the person’s name a few times when speaking with him. This not only helps you to connect their face with their name but builds a feeling of familiarity upon which you can build trust.
People like doing business with people they know or feel comfortable with, so do everything you can to make them feel welcomed and reduce any sense of uncertainty by watching their non-verbal communication.
4. Ask About Non-Work Topics
It may seem natural to discuss business topics during a meetup, but successful networking also involves getting to know the person as a whole. Ask about hobbies and passions to find common ground to build trust and connection with the person you are speaking with.
Sure, you can ask about their job title, but asking open-ended questions about personal interests may be what you need to get the conversion flowing.
5. Keep In Mind What You Can Offer
Many networkers enter a meetup thinking about what they hope to gain from the event. Instead of this approach, try creating a list of what you bring to the table. This forward-thinking mindset allows you to identify business opportunities rather than look for items to meet your predetermined expectations.
6. Ask Your Contact For Preferred Follow Up Method
Once you’ve made a new contact, be sure to ask them how they would like you to follow up. Offer a variety of options like:
- Phone Call
- LinkedIn Profile
- Business Social Media Pages
By asking your new contact’s preferred follow-up method, you are securing the most successful contact information that will allow you to develop the new relationship.
7. Network On Social Media
In this digital age, don’t overlook the opportunities that social media outlets, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, affords business owners.
Connecting with people on social media allows you to communicate with other people in your industry, tag them in your posts, and promote their projects, which helps you build a strong network with meaningful, beneficial connections.
8. Network After Hours
Whether you are at a face-to-face conference or attending virtual networking sessions, take advantage of after-hours networking opportunities.
During face-to-face conferences, many attendees will flock to a bar or club to relax. Do the same, even if you don’t plan on having a drink. Be sure to prepare an opening line so that approaching attendees will be effortless.
9. Skip Sessions And Socialize
Conferences are often jam-packed with back-to-back sessions. It’s ok to skip one or two and hang out in the hallway or common area to look for networking opportunities. Be friendly and strike up conversations with people you recognize from earlier sessions.
10. Ditch The Elevator Pitch
While brief elevator pitches are popular in sales situations, you want your networking efforts to create authentic connections. Inserting your pitch into a conversation will make your new contact think you are only there for the business prospects.
It’s ok to sell yourself at the right moment, but in your initial networking attempts, stick to the basics and ask non-industry questions to get to know your potential contact as a person rather than a job title.
11. Keep It Quick
Don’t monopolize sometime’s time. The conversation should be a two-way street.
If you notice that you are carrying the weight of the conversation, wrap things up and move on. Your time is valuable, so don’t waste it on a potential contact that may not work out.
12. Take Notes
Once you gain the information for a new business contact, make a few simple notes to help you remember the interaction. This will allow you to maintain the connection next time you engage with them, making your efforts appear more genuine and meaningful.
13. Enlist A Social Butterfly
If you are an introvert who struggles to engage a potential networking contact, ask a coworker who is a social butterfly to attend the conference with you and help you build relationships.
Because this person has more extroverted social skills, they will easily break the ice and ease you into the conversation. This will prevent you from missing out on key networking opportunities.
14. Enhance Your LinkedIn Presence
If social distancing keeps you from attending face-to-face conferences, or your networking budget is thin, turn to LinkedIn to help boose your networking skills.
Upload slide decks, share content and join industry groups to build your virtual network. Leverage “@” mentions to bring in potential contacts.
15. Always Follow Up...Eventually
After a successful networking session, you need to follow up to continue to build a new relationship.
Following up is a great way to let your new contact know that you mean business. Be helpful, generous, and considerate when reconnecting after your initial conversation.
You may be tempted to immediately send a LinkedIn invite or follow up with an email. For the best results, wait until the next day, or the day after that, to follow up. You don’t want to overwhelm your new contact or appear overeager.
16. Know That Relationships Take Time
Despite all the initial contacts you made during a networking event, you know that the best relationships take time to cultivate.
Don’t be dejected if no new relationships form from your most recent networking efforts. Continue to reach out, break the ice, and develop critical relationships with others in your industry.
Always be excited and optimistic about networking and offer to help people. Generosity is the currency of good relationships.
Use These Networking Tips To Build New Relationships
Whether you are embarking on a job search or looking to build your professional network, effective networking takes time and effort.
Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and meet new people. Take advantage of virtual and face-to-face networking events. Use this networking advice to initiate meaningful interactions with coworkers and others in your specific industry.
Building professional connections will lead to new opportunities and business partners.
What is an elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch is a brief, preplanned speech that sells you and your credentials to a networking contact or prospective client.
What skills do I need for networking?
To successfully network, you will need social skills, active listening skills, and good nonverbal communication habits.
Is it challenging to learn how to network?
No, with some practice, it is simple to build business relationships and forge meaningful industry connections.