Boss Lady

11 networking tips everyone should know

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In today’s society, career advancement is as much about knowing the right people to help elevate you as it is about having the right skills.

Simply put, it’s not always enough to be good at your job. You also need to know and work with people of all different fields and expand your networking pool as much as possible.

This is why attending networking events has become a popular method for businessmen and women to find new prospective business clients and contacts.

If you haven’t started attending these events by now, you need to. Today. And there are a number of things you can do when there, to give you the best chance of leaving with several new and highly valuable contacts.

Here are 11 networking tips to change the way you think about networking:

 

1. Give before you get

Never make the mistake of assuming someone will provide their help when you ask them for a favour for nothing in return.

If you haven’t helped or at least shown you are willing to return the favour in the future, it’s likely that the individual will be hesitant to help you when you need it.

You need to establish some form of a relationship with them and show them helping you is worth the trouble, and that it can benefit them in the future.good

2. Don’t hijack the conversation

Even once you feel like you’ve listened to what someone has to say long enough for you to be able to discuss your own career goals, it’s important you don’t hijack the conversation.

If the person you’re talking to wants to add something in or change the conversation let them. Show them you’re willing to listen to their ideas and aren’t only concerned with helping yourself.

This will go a long way in showing them what kind of a businesswoman you are.

3. Find mutual connections and utilize them

In this day and age, social media can truly help you further your career, creating new ways for you discover people you want to work with through mutual friends and connections.

When you do find these connections you need to capitalize on them. If you have a contact who knows someone you wish to work with, get in touch with them and let them know what you are hoping to achieve.

Explain to them why their help in organizing a potential meeting or even a phone call with your next prospective business connection is important.

Having an outside individual endorse you to a prospective client or contact would give you a powerful edge in business, showing others you are someone who can be trusted and are well worth the time.

4. Be wary of your online connections

While connecting with individuals online is a popular and effective networking tool, it does have its drawbacks.

You need to be cautious of those you choose to accept on sites such as LinkedIn as they are a reflection of you as well as everyone can see you who are connected to, and if you have a bad connection it may reflect poorly on you.

That’s why it’s important to be strict with the invitations you send out as well as those you accept.

To put it simply if you don’t know them or have a common connection, you can wait to meet them in person until you add them on LinkedIn.

5. Do more than collect cards

Attending a business event with the intention to speak to as many individuals as possible is a great plan, but you have to make sure you approach it correctly.

Don’t make the mistake of having short conversations with as many people as possible, collecting only their names and business cards to email them later rather than form an actual business relationship.

If you spend too little time with them it’s almost guaranteed they won’t remember you and as a result won’t want to do business with you.

If you show them you are willing to invest your time in them they will be more willing to invest their time in you. good

6. Follow-up

It’s easy after creating a new business connection to drop the ball and wait for them to respond, but what happens if they’re doing the same thing and are awaiting your response?

Don’t take that risk and waste time, instead be sure to check-in with a new business connection and maintain and strengthen your business relationship. good

7. Take notes

In order to follow-up a prospective business connection you need to be specific in your call or email on why and how you want to work with them.

When you ask for someone’s card, taking notes on the back of it once they walk away is a great way to keep up to date on your new connections and saves you from getting confused.

This way you will be able to refer directly to your notes when you try to follow-up with them and show them how serious you were about doing business. good

8. Find a common ground

Attempting to establish a business connection with a complete stranger can be incredibly difficult and awkward at times, as neither of you may know how to approach the conversation.

However, asking general questions regarding family backgrounds, childhoods and hobbies are a great way to facilitate discussions as they open up the conversation and allow you to discover some shared interests.

Once this happens, you both will feel much more at ease and willing to broach the topic of business and working together, allowing you to take the next step in establishing a business relationship.

9. Do some research

If there is someone in particular you are hoping to do business with, it doesn’t hurt to do some research on them.

If you approach the individual with some insight into their interests such as charities or sports they may be a part of, you’re showing them they can talk about their passions even if they may not directly affect your career goals.

This allows them to become more comfortable with you and boosts their morale, which will make them more willing to work with you.

10. Reach outside your comfort zone

It’s easy to connect with individuals who are quite similar to you, whether it is their age, gender, ethnicity or another factor, as a result it can lead you to have a somewhat bland network pool.

If this happens, you’ll find your career options to be quite limited which is something you should never want in business.

Connecting with people you normally wouldn’t allows you to broaden your horizons, opening yourself and them up to a number of new career aspects.

11. Volunteer

If you’re worried about how to go about talking to as many people as you can, you should consider volunteering to work the event.

This doesn’t mean serving food or drinks, but rather organizing the event, dealing with issues such as who is invited, where people are seated and the itinerary for the event.

This will provide you with the perfect opportunity to meet a countless number of successful people and leave the perfect impression as someone who is always willing to go the extra mile and help in any way they can.

If you have a network event coming up soon, or even one that is still a fair while away, you need to keep these tips in mind for the day.

Any nerves you may have about networking events will disappear once you utilize these tips. They’ll show you that as long as you have the confidence and the right techniques at an event, you can leave anyone with the right impression – and leave the networking event with the right contacts.

About Natalie Cupac

Natalie Cupac Journalist & Features Writer for The Business Woman, Natalie Cupac is studying a double degree of Journalism and International Studies and has previously worked for Pacific Magazines

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