How To Network Like A Pro Networking Efficiently And Effectively
Why Networking is important.
It’s simple: knowing the right people can get you places that you might not reach otherwise.
Of all the areas where networking can help you, the most important are probably getting new business, finding a job, and having relationships with key people who can help you out in ways you can’t predict yet.
Networking opens up new opportunities for you, TheLadders.com’s Rothenberg says. Particularly in the case of job-hunting especially in this extremely competitive market, networking can be the difference between scoring a job and not.
Ultimately, it’s all about the relationships: the ones you can build through networking are invaluable. As Misner puts it, “when times are tough, a client will leave you, but a friend won’t.”
If you’ve never done it before, networking can be an intimidating endeavor.
According to Rothenberg, the only way to become an expert networker is to “practice practice practice. The more you do it, the better you get.”
To get started, Business Network International’s Misner suggests first sitting down with a guidebook (we list several good ones at the end of this feature) and learning the basics.
You should also participate in a networking group; Misner breaks them down into 4 types:
- Casual contact networks (networking events or industry mixers)
- Knowledge networks (professional associations)
- Strong contact networks (groups that meet frequently specifically to build professional relationships, like those run by BNI)
- Online networks (professional social media services, such as LinkedIn)
If possible, you should be active in one of each.
You won’t be able to network if you’re not visible. If people don’t know who you are, you can’t start building those important relationships.
Many small business owners are so focused on the day-to-day of their business that they forget about actively networking, Misner comments.
“Be visible. Networking is a contact sport! You have to get out and connect with people,” he says.
How to Network Effectively
- Stay in touch with people you like and respect even if they can’t help you immediately. You don’t want to go to someone only when you are desperate.
Talk to people you don’t know everywhere you go. Cocktail parties and weddings are just the tip of the iceberg; don’t forget about airplane rides, supermarket lines, sporting events, festivals, bookstores and so on.
Learn to ask “What do you do?” with comfort, sincerity and interest.
Become a better listener. Ask a question and then be quiet until you hear the answer.
Practice your own presentaton of your skills. Learn more than one approach, whether frank or subtle.
Keep a great updated brochure, business card or other form of information about yourself on you at all times. Get comfortable handing out your card.
Take classes to improve your public speaking, body language and writing skills.
Join every networking club and association in your field.
Follow up on any lead, no matter how minor.
Internet Billboards is a content curation, platform and a growing media destination as well as a content distribution site, we also make introductions and assist people in building their own center of influence and network. We invite you to join our growing network of curator’s, it’s free to join and we will happily introduce you to some great new people.
So in the spirit of networking be sure to leave a comment and introduce yourself below.
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