The art of networking
Networking: many people have a love-hate relationship with it. Whether trying to find a new job, move up in a career or make friends, being part of a valuable network of connections can bring a plethora of resources to meet any goal.
In today’s highly competitive and fast-moving world, it takes more than just shaking hands and introducing oneself to a stranger. These five essential tips will help with tackling the world of networking to get collaborating in no time.
1. Getting a name out there
It takes more than just a business card for someone to remember a name or even the name of a business, and many people are now turning to social media and digital networking platforms like LinkedIn as a virtual “business card”, instead of physically carrying them around.
A good way to ensure that everyone remembers the name of a brand is to make it part of a networking event. Adding a business name to any marketing material by getting bags and lanyards printed can help enormously. It’s worth encouraging team members to wear these during the event so the name is seen at all times. IGO Promo has some great ideas to help a business stand out from the rest, including badges, key fobs, mobile phones, and even USB drives.
2. Being memorable
Saying something out loud ensures that it’s more likely to be remembered. This is a popular learning technique for students to help them recall important notes and anyone can use this trick to make themselves memorable while networking. Networkers should repeat not only what people say but share unforgettable stories that others will want to repeat over and over again too.
Funny anecdotes about oneself, one’s industry and one’s work that engage the listener will secure a spot in their memory. Sharing important information to tease the person into wanting to find out more can also help as a way to ensure there’s a reason to keep in touch.
3. Showcasing personality
Personality is key in making oneself memorable and building meaningful connections. It’s important to be real and authentic as much as possible. For those who have trouble connecting with people, there’s no harm in sharing a few personal stories to build a bond. People are often smarter than they seem, and most will see right through anyone putting on a show.
It’s best to be genuine, and the passionate will definitely shine through. The people who connect with one’s authentic self are the ones who will last the longest in a network. These will be the people one can depend on and get valuable insight from.
4. Being a good listener
In order to strike up a meaningful conversation, it’s necessary to to be a good listener. Networking is a two-way street and as much as anyone wants to show off their strengths, the other person wants to do the same. It’s best to ask questions and listen to what people have to say. Sometimes one may need something from them, but there may be plenty of opportunities to help them too.
When time is short it can be difficult to convey what’s needed while leaving sufficient time to learn about others. It’s a good idea to watch for signs that someone is not interested in what’s being said and immediately turn the focus of the conversation to them.
Taking notes is smart to develop a follow-up plan with something to work on and keep the connection alive. It can be effective to offer to send the information they are looking for or make plans to attend the next event together.
5. Doing the research
Networking is not about quick gains. It’s about establishing meaningful connections that add value to life for the long term. Researching the networking event in advance to find out who exactly will be attending is essential, as well as establishing what’s on the agenda and what value one can bring.
It’s smart to choose events wisely instead of blindly attending every single one – this is an investment of time, energy and effort, so it needs to be worth it. When one is looking forward to speaking to someone in particular, it’s worth doing a bit of digging to find topics to talk about and shared interests. It’s best not to force or lie one’s way into getting into their good books, as the relationship won’t last very long.
Networking for the individual
These networking tips are a great way to get motivated but may not work for everyone. It is important to mingle and socialise in a way that comes naturally, otherwise the relationships made will not last and won’t reap provide the desired benefits.
Networkers should stick to tackling small groups if they are shy or nervous; introverts will usually have to fake their way through most conversations. But when the right person arrives to talk about what passions, it’s easy to make long-lasting and valuable relationships with them.
The editorial unit