Making personal connections is vital in today’s business world. Connections are important for business owners as well as employees. Knowing someone or even knowing someone who knows someone can open doors for opportunity. Having connections can help an organization grow or help an individual land a new job. Let’s discuss the most important tips for successful networking.
Going up to strangers can be overwhelming and scary. When going out to network be mindful that the purpose is to be social and avoid huddling in the corner either by yourself or with one or two people you know. Make yourself go up to others and introduce yourself. It will be worth it in the end when you feel like you just accomplished a triathlon. You will feel the thrill of bravery and results.
Building Personal Relationships
It may sound simple but it should be the number one goal when networking. While out networking it’s important to build genuine relationships with other individuals. Try to engage with people on an honest and human level first. Find out some things you have in common with the other person, take an interest in them, and make them feel like you are genuinely interested in them and what they do. Don’t take over the conversation. As you are networking you want people to recognize you and want to engage with you when they see you. When speaking with people be prepared and curious. Beforehand think of some questions you may be able to ask people
When talking with others in a networking setting don’t jump into a sales pitch with every person you meet. Talk about yourself and what you do, more than likely someone will ask, but don’t constantly try to sell your business or product. Think about networking as selling you vs your job. If all you’re talking about is your business or what work you do, people will get bored and move on rather quickly. No one wants to take part in a conversation with someone who is solely focused on themselves. Focus on starting to build connections first to get to know people better and allow people to get to know you better. This will often open the door to discussing what you do and where you work.
Choose Your Events Wisely
Going to every event possible to maximize your exposure might not be the best idea. Instead, figure out exactly what your intentions are, determine the people you want to meet, and choose your events from there. This will ensure that you don’t exhaust yourself or that your conversations don’t become ineffective. Choosing your events wisely can also lead to making deeper and long-lasting connections with the right people. Research your local networking events and go from there to choose which ones fit you best.
When you are out networking figure out how you and your business can help others. Building connections is what networking is all about. That connection should be beneficial to all parties involved. Find out what you can do to assist each person you meet. Even putting them in contact with another connection is helpful. It shows them that your interest in them is genuine.
Be open when at a networking event. Not in a way necessarily where you share your whole life story. In a way where you don’t close yourself off from opportunities. Don’t use phrases like “I’m so busy”, “I hardly have time”, or “I’ll have to fit in my schedule”. If you are there to make genuine connections, be available for any potential meetings or a business coffee. Remember first impressions are important, and using phrases like the above can be off-putting to others. It may cause them to think you either don’t care, you are disorganized, or lack time management skills.
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