How to be better at networking
Whether you own your own business or work for someone else, networking can prove vital to your career. Creating an expansive network of contacts can enhance job opportunities as well as your business. Here are some tips to get the best out of networking:
- Get an early start – Many people only begin to expand or create their network of contacts when they are either jobless or in need of favours. To make sure your network is always on the grow, start as soon as possible, even if your not actually in need of any help yet. Often people make the mistake of leaving it till they’re in need, and it will only hinder your chances if you leave it all to the last minute. Start building straight away, at every opportunity you get.
- Lend a helping hand – Don’t just expect to gain a few contacts and that doors will just open for you. Your goal of networking should be to help others, not the other way round. It’s a two-way street. Providing some value to people will increase your chances of receiving help in return. Understand their needs and try to build relationships.
- Know the people you target – It’s great to have a huge network, but try not to just take down everyone you meet along the way. Think about how relevent the person can be to you. Do you share the same passions, ideas, or type of work? Your network will end up smaller, but atleast you will have a group of people that you can count on. Remember, never dismiss people as irrelevant. You never know when certain contacts may come in handy.
- Look in a variety of places – Restricting yourself to only networking at your current industry will make minimal difference to having no network at all. What if you are made redundant or decide you need a new challenge? Connect with people from a range of areas and levels. Your value as part of other people’s networks will only grow if you grow your network outside of the same old areas.
- Build relationships before asking favours – When speaking to potential contacts for the first time, don’t begin by asking for favours. Start with trying to build bridges with people through compliments and cooperation. The stronger the relationship you’ve formed, the more your contact is going to try and help you.
- Attend what you can – If you have the opportunity to go to events where you can meet new people, do it. Attending ceremonies, parties, gathering, amd events will introduce you to new people and give you the chance to get to know them. Use your University’s alumni association to keep contact with some of the people you studied with. It might seem an obvious tip but many people dismiss such chances and are missing out on potential contacts.
Networking is simple in theory, but what really holds people back is their willingness to meet new people and engage with them. Mantaining a positive and engaging attitude with people you meet will only benefit you. There are others just like you looking to form a reliable network and establishing yourself as a useful contact will help you reap the rewards of networking.