I’m always looking for new opportunities and for that I want to network. I noticed that most people actually don’t know how to network and that’s frustrating. Why we network is simple: knowing the right people can get you places that you might not reach otherwise and this doesn’t have to be difficult. So here a few tips on how to improve your networking.
Before going to network it’s essential to have a clear view on what talents, skills and connections you can offer. Next you want to know what kind of people you need to expand your own business. Even when people seem to be the right person to work with in the first place there is always a possibility that you don’t like the person. Networking is exactly like dating, only with a different outcome. Map out before what you want to talk about, particularly on how you may be able to help the other person, now or in the future. Many people want to know what you do exactly and that’s fine, besides that it is more important to explain why you do something because only then you can really connect with someone.
When you meet people you are probably having a good time at a party, networking event or whatever but having the right setting is crucial for having a good conversation. There is a difference between meeting and getting to know someone. When I connect with someone and I want to continue the conversation I just ask. You need a neutral location, you or the other person shouldn’t have influence on that particular place because everyone should feel equal. I mostly have drinks in hotels or bars where there isn’t much noise so I can hear the person well enough.
True networking happens when there’s an understanding that everyone in the room has equal value. It’s about enjoying other people and sharing interests. The most successful networkers build genuine relationships and give more than they receive. They go beyond thinking, “What’s in it for me?” to ask “How can I help?”. Also never ever ask for anything from someone you’ve just met, who you don’t have any relationship with. Networking goes really bad when a complete stranger says ‘let’s do business together”. That’s not networking, that’s direct selling. Give before you ask and be generous.
Be genuine interested in other people. Listen and keep asking questions to really get to know the other person. Once you begin to listen to people and learn what they can bring to the table, you’ll start realizing how one person in the room may be able to help another. Make it a point to connect people you feel have something of genuine value to each other. When you go out of your way to make those potentially promising connections, you’re doing your part to make the networking event a success.
If you told someone you’d get in touch with them, do it and reaffirm your intent to assist in any way you can. If you promised to introduce someone to a person you know, take the time to do it. Everyone is busy these days and it only takes no more than a minute to shoot off an email to introduce people you want to connect. They can take it from there and do the work, just enjoy being the bridge. Little things like that mean a lot to people and just one introduction can end up changing someone’s life for the better. Always keep reaching out to the people you know. It’s important to have a big network but it is useless if you don’t maintain it. Having an active network is also important.
If you would like to connect after reading this article you always can contact me.