Networking helps to build people, people help to build your business. Success needs a network and successful people build a strong network to achieve extraordinary success.
Networking refers to an investment for your business that helps people to build wealth and reputation. In simple terms, a network is created for the people and by the people to create mutual wellness.
Whether you want to develop your career or want to forge new business relationships, learning how to successfully network is a valuable professional skill for achieving your goals.
From a business standpoint, networking offers a wide opportunity to meet and connect with new people which can help you in your career. It helps you to learn from each other, give and receive referrals, co-promote, and expand your reach.
Many people think networking can turn out to be a little awkward for them. If you also think, about how tricky it feels to start a good conversation, especially after being locked up in our houses for such a long period. The truth is I used to be one of them.
So what has changed? How did I improve in meeting new people with who I might be able to collab? I will share some of my tips and tricks that made me start enjoying networking.
Some Statistics that show How Networking can Benefit Businesses
Networking offers an effective way to acquire new business leads and opportunities
Especially when you own a small business. Networking benefits the business by expanding its potential to find new customers and clients.
A study from Alignable reported that around 85% of small business owners feel that word-of-mouth marketing includes the most effective way to grab loyal customers. Also, a report from HubSpot says around 85% of job vacancy fills through networking.
Professionals feel that they might lose 28% of their business growth if they don’t network
A great way to discover best business practices and the highest benchmarks could be done through networking easily.
For instance, if you own a small offline clothing brand and want to launch it online as well, with the help of your connections you can find out the best software that can help you to achieve it.
Most important of all, networking helps all of us to unlock many doors of opportunities waiting for us
Meeting new people, learning from them, and sometimes giving your skills too helps you to grab valuable opportunities to grow your career.
Not only so, but interacting with great professionals also benefits you with the chances of finding new partners and investors as well as generating new referrals. A LinkedIn study says that nearly 70% of jobs have been filled through internal connections at their company.
Networking regularly helps to boost your profile and reputation in your field
Hence, the more people you interact with (and not only interact but impacted them in some manner with your resources and skills) the higher the possibility that they will remember taking your name on the table full of opportunities.
Networking proves to be a most essential way of finding your dream job. According to LinkedIn, 80% of professionals feel that networking includes an important component in moving up in your career.
In a survey conducted by HubSpot, a lifetime value job filled through networking referrals is expected to be 16% more than non-referred positions.
Sometimes it can be easy to feel that no one cares about us. Focusing on the right direction and right people will always help you to move one step closer to your dreams. Asking for help is tough. But no one is entirely self-made, we all are each other’s support system.
This means it’s essential for us to be comfortable in developing relationships that can benefit both parties mutually. In this post, I will share a few simple tricks you should keep in mind while practicing the art of networking.
Strategies that will help you in Successful Business Networking
1. More events help you to gain more visibility
Try to attend as many business networking events as possible, since it helps you to gain the attention of the professionals in your field.
Furthermore, attending more events provides you with the chance of meeting new people in your field and the opportunity to talk with them directly.
Meeting more and more individuals helps you to understand their perspectives and gather new skills. Not only so, but these events also help you to discover the top trends in the market that you could use in your business.
Tip: Always try to get early in the events and plan to stay till late. Arriving early helps you to get some extra time to calm down and prepare yourself mentally.
2. Plan the goal that leads you to your growth
Take some time before and prepare your clear agenda, and goals. Furthermore, also create a list of people you might be going to meet up there.
To give an example, you can take a look at the registration list if provided or check the website to have some idea about the sponsors and professions that you might want to make a connection with.
Choose and know your goal in-depth, since it helps you to understand how exactly meeting with other individuals can profit you. Focusing on specific contacts or titles benefits you to utilize most of your time.
Tip: Plan your ice-breaking topics before attending them. This way you can avoid the anxiety of finding the ideas on the spot.
3. Don’t fake it (Be Yourself)
Being the actual you helps you gain trust from the other side. It benefits in developing an emotional connection and making your presence count amongst the other competitors.
Showing others the real you in the conversations help them to trust you and helps to grow the connection a long way. On the other side, pretending someone you are not might piss the other person off.
4. Do your research
You have to think about something to break the initial awkwardness that might lead to a bad impression. Research the latest trends and technologies in the field to initiate a conversation.
For instance, you can simply share your experience with the latest technology that you tried and how it helped you.
Moreover, asking open-ended questions (like industry-related issues or how they develop their interest in the field) helps to make the conversation more interactive.
Tip: If you can’t think of anything, try to begin the conversation with a compliment. To give an example, you might compliment the person sitting next to you that you like their dressing sense or shoes.
5. Social platforms come with more connections
Networking can be done at any time through any platform, it doesn’t matter if it’s online or offline. If you want to expand your contacts, social platforms offer the best way to connect with people that inspire you from your field.
A report from LinkedIn says that around 35% of professionals say that the casual conversations done through the platform have helped them to grab new opportunities.
You can even join groups on LinkedIn and show your presence by providing your points in the discussion. Moreover, posting your achievement and interacting with people on social sites can help you build your credibility.
6. Bring your Business Cards
Designing a business card that depicts your business personality helps you to grab the attention and promote your business. A study from News Trail says that around 72% of business card recipients use to evaluate the company impression through their cards
The people might want to contact you even after the event. Hence, a business card should make it easy for them to easily contact you. However, you should be mindful of giving your business cards. Only, provide them when it feels necessary.
Tip: You can even write a small note on the back side related to the important topics that you have discussed during the event.
7. Listening is the key
Only talking about your views might bore people with you. Be a good listener too, and try to show interest in what the other person is saying.
Showing your interest in what the other person is saying and putting a little effort from your end with statements like “tell me more about it”, or “How did you deal with it?” helps to gain the trust of the other person and helps in better communication.
In addition, it also helps you to relax for some time and learn new things.
8. Get More Involved
Joining local business organizations or other business committees benefits by building a powerful network. It also helps you to gain more visibility and be remembered as a resource to people in your network that might bring you new opportunities.
Moreover, getting involved in activities outside business leads develop to the strongest relationships and widening your network.
9. Find a Mutual
Sometimes making connections with people becomes easier when you have a known mutual by your side. Attending an event could be easier when you know someone who’s already been there.
If you know a friend or colleague who’s also planning to attend the event consider attending the event as a team. This will even broaden your chances of meeting new people and making connections.
Tip: It helps when you bring a buddy with you. However, you should not forget that you are there for expanding your network and not just chatting with your friend. As you don’t want others to feel that you guys are not interested in meeting with them.
10. It’s Generosity and not Greed
It’s crucial to remember that networking is also about giving and not only taking. People don’t prefer to make connections with people who sound greedy. Offering your suggestion and time when they need will help them to remember your name on the table full of opportunities.
Therefore, look for opportunities to help the people in your community. This helps you to be in the good books of other people as well. Not only this but, you can even share your skills and experience with others.
We all, of course, grow when we help each other grow. In simple terms, people will generally come running if you could tell them how it helped you get there.
11. What could possibly go wrong!
All of us need some help to grow our careers and business at some point in time. Hence, utilizing your network at that time can benefit us a lot.
You should overcome your fear and just simply ask for some assistance at your time. Be bold enough to tell others the truth, aware people about what you are looking for. Let people know how they can help you to achieve your goals.
12. Find Reasons to Follow up
Meeting and talking to new individuals includes only half the battle of making connections. You also need to take the steps to retain the connection.
You can remain in touch with each other through social platforms like LinkedIn. You can tell people how can they connect with you in the future. A smile and a thank you can help people remember your face.
You can also offer them referrals or invite them to a related event or seminar to continue your relationship. However, you should also know when to stop, efforts should be there from both sides, if you feel that the conversation starts getting boring or irritating, it is better to step back.
13. A Guide can Help
Finding yourself a mentor and reaching out to them includes the best advice to develop strong networks. Once you know the person who inspires you in the industry, the next step includes reaching out to them. You need to find a platform where you can learn from them and how can you connect with them.
Offer them your skills and try to work with them (even if you don’t get paid for it). Once your guide trusts you he will share their experience with you that will help to grow your business. Moreover, adding them to your network makes your network even stronger.
14. Understand What Type of Networking Works Best for You
We generally have two major types of networking events i.e. offline and online. Some people feel more comfortable in online events where they don’t need to interact physically with others.
On the other hand, some people feel more productive when interacting in person. You should know what type of networking benefits you the most and then plan to invest your time more in that type of event.
It’s not about Making Contacts but Planting Relationships
Developing your network stronger as well as sharing skills and information in needed times helps all of us to become stronger.
Planting relationships helps you to be aware of the trending topics and technologies that might help your business. It benefits you with generating new ideas, gaining new clients, and running your business from a new perspective.
If you decide to follow the above-stated strategies and use them in real life I am sure you’ll start to enjoy it too. And shyness and fear of initiating a conversation that does sound fake with people will become a thing of the past.
About the Author!
Atul Naithani is an SEO Executive at CronJ, a Software development Company that helps businesses to develop web apps, mobile apps, blockchain solutions, and other custom software based on their needs. Atul is experienced in digital marketing and SEO.