Networking – do you love it or hate it? If you are an introvert like me, it can be a daunting experience.
Below are some great networking tips to set you up for success.
Networking is an integral part of building your career, regardless of the path that you choose to take.
The purpose of networking is to create relationships that can be mutually beneficial – to grow professionally or personally.
There are a number of reasons to focus on networking as part of growing your personal brand, and your business.
Reasons for networking include:-
+ Understanding the opportunities in your market.
+ Gain access to new ideas and innovation.
+ Find mentors and sponsors.
+ Uncover new customers.
+ Source new suppliers.
+ Improve your communication and presentation skills.
+ Make some new friends.
+ Be AUTHENTIC – Make sure that you show a genuine interest in people.
+ Smile and look people in the eye when you are talking to them.
+ Be positive – have an open “can-do” attitude, share information and offer assistance.
+ Be visible – let others know you exist and what you do. Look for interesting events to attend e.g. seminars, meetings, conferences, lunches etc.
+ Whenever you meet someone new, exchange business cards (if they have one). Write memory joggers on the back of business cards. Connect via LinkedIn once you leave.
+ Build your relationships. Take an interest in everyone you meet, remember their name, listen attentively to them, understand their needs and how you could assist each other.
+ Come up with a list of opening questions. Develop the ability to small talk – being able to initiate a conversation means you are more likely to come into contact with people who will turn out to be valuable contacts. Ask open-ended questions.
+ Decide how to organise your network – create a list of names. You could use a spreadsheet or database system. Write down outcomes of any conversations, and any follow-up that was needed. Create a tracking system to identify and remember those who you meet.
+ Communicate with your network – stay in touch and follow-up with your network.
+ Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most people are flattered to be asked for assistance and advice.
+ Be able to articulate what you are looking for and how others may help you.
+ Become known as a powerful resource for others – people will remember to turn to you for suggestions, ideas, names of other people etc. This keeps you visible to them.
+ Follow through quickly and efficiently on referrals you are given.
+ Show your appreciation for any help you receive.
Networking is an absolute must for anyone, regardless of the career path that you choose to take.