The Art of Effective Networking – Building Connections That Matter
Networking involves much more than attending social or industry events and exchanging business cards; it involves building meaningful relationships that lead to powerful opportunities and provide invaluable insights.
Networking may seem intimidating to some, especially extroverts, but the good news is that networking can be learned and anyone can be successful at it.
1. Know Your Purpose
Networking can be daunting; not everyone finds it natural or easy. But networking doesn’t need to be an unpleasant experience!
Success in networking involves giving back as well as receiving. That means sharing valuable information such as articles, tips or insights you find relevant to your network.
Always keep networking as a long-term commitment in mind; building meaningful relationships takes time. Treat it accordingly and you can build a powerful and meaningful network to help achieve your business goals.
2. Be Yourself
Doing what’s authentic to yourself makes networking easier. Trust and rapport can only be developed through genuine interactions.
We’ve all witnessed it: that person who effortlessly glides into a room full of strangers and makes instantaneous friends, leaving us all jealously longing to be just like them! “Oh if only I were as suave!” we think to ourselves.
Be yourself is more than a shallow concept; it’s an opportunity to connect with people and build long-lasting business relationships based on shared interests and values – this type of networking works! Oscar Wilde once famously said it best: “Be yourself; everybody else has already taken.” This statement serves as a timely reminder that being unique and authentic are essential qualities that help ensure networking success.
3. Be Prepared
Building connections can help you access hidden job markets, increase effectiveness and helpfulness in professional settings and stay motivated during a job search. Being prepared means arriving to meetings with clear goals in mind as well as follow up after meeting new contacts.
Being prepared also involves being able to listen attentively during networking encounters. Since your aim should be to build meaningful relationships that last a lifetime, practicing active listening skills during networking events could prove helpful. Prepare questions that could either start new conversations or deepen existing ones for added benefits.
4. Be Active
While networking remains true to its original adage of “it’s who you know, not what you know”, effective networking involves much more than exchanging business cards. Instead, effective networking involves building meaningful relationships within your network to enhance both professional and personal gain.
To successfully network, it’s necessary to actively attend networking events and follow up after conversations with personalized notes and offers to assist new connections. Consider joining clubs or associations that meet regularly as this shows dedication and consistency within your network, potentially earning you new clients in return. Unlike gardening, networking can take time before producing meaningful relationships.
5. Be Flexible
Being flexible means being able to quickly adapt to unpredictable situations and is an invaluable skill in school, work and life.
Networking is also key to effective business. By connecting with individuals from various industries and fields, you can expand your circle of contacts.
Lance and Meredith recognize their networking skills are lacking, so they decide to hire Dan, an expert in making powerful relationships, who teaches them 10 lessons on building them successfully.
6. Be Authentic
Authenticity is at the center of successful networking. People who excel at networking understand that successful networking goes beyond collecting business cards and receiving recommendations; rather, it involves cultivating relationships which lead to lasting opportunities over time.
Being genuine can be hard when working in an unfamiliar professional environment, but there are steps you can take to make networking experiences feel less contrived and more like real life. Forbes Coaches Council members provide some tips for doing exactly this.