Networking is such an essential skill to have in these times. It helps you make new connections. It helps you build a stronger background for your business. But a lot of us hesitate or falter when it comes to networking. If you are an introvert, more so. Are you a person who sits behind everyone and loses out on networking opportunities? If you are losing out on many chances of improving your business. These tips on networking may help you.
Make friends instead of connections
The idea that you are making connections for work, that you are talking to them with an agenda, could be daunting. Instead, if you think you are making friends, it could become less pressuring. Get to know the person first. You may be there for business. You may be talking to this particular person for your benefit. But forgetting that for a while will be helpful to you. That can reduce the nervousness you are feeling.
If you are going to an event, do some research. Research who will be attending. Run a background check on them. You need to know the basics about them before you even end up meeting them. Of course, you do not cyber-stalk them. But it’s better to know the basics of the higher-up famous people before you go up to them and talk to them.
Think – what can I give
Mindset is also a factor that determines the level of your confidence. It affects the outcome of the conversation. Instead of thinking about what you will get from the person, think about what you can offer to the person. Think–How can you help them out? This attitude change can help boost your confidence level. Everyone is there to broaden their social circle. They are there to get something from you as well. So offer them what you have.
Listen more than you talk
You might be in a hurry to impress the person you are talking to. But a key to networking is not just talking but listening too. You need to listen to the other person and understand their line of work. You need to understand their interests. Ask what they are looking for. Being a good listener always puts a positive mark on your personality. Ask questions and try to learn more about them and their work. Show interest.
But do not forget to pitch
We are making new friends, we are offering help, and we are listening. But then do not forget to pitch your ideas and work either. The key is to not miss the right timing. During the conversation, there may come places where you can slide in a few sentences about your work. You can tell them about the services you offer. If you are working in the artistic field, this will be a good time to pitch your idea.
Keep in contact
Once you get the contact, once you have their number or business card, what do you do? Throw it in your phone or bag and forget about it. No. You need to keep in contact with them. Networking only starts from there. Add this person to your LinkedIn account and send a follow-up email. By following up, you are setting yourself apart from others. This will lead them to not forget about you. It will keep their interest in you intact.
Pick the right crowd
Everyone has their own energy. If you are stuck with people whose energy does not match with you, you are going to have a difficult time networking with them. So pick a crowd that has the same energy as you. People whose interests match yours. And people with whom you can easily communicate.
Do not change your personality to impress the other person. Speak your mind and behave like you usually would. The world is full of competition. A lot of people might have already tried to strike up a conversation with the person you are talking to. Having your own personality will help in leaving a distinct mark on the listener.
Do not compare
You should not compare yourself with your competitor. You need not portray that you are much better than them, or try to belittle your competitor or anyone in any way. By this, you are saving your grace. Instead, you tell them what benefits you are offering. How partnering with you may be beneficial for them.
You can meet people anywhere
It’s not like you get chances to meet people only at business dinners, conferences, and meetups. Be open to meeting people wherever possible. You can meet them up in your weekend yoga class, or in the middle of your daily walk. Be pleasant, easily approachable, and open to talking to people wherever possible.
Be efficient and prioritize
After you have made a connection, then what? Usually, the other person would want some task done. If they want you to pass them some information, or send an email – you do it immediately. In this busy world, it is easy for us to get sidetracked and forget the task at hand. Postponing the task set by a new connection can leave a terrible impression on them. So prioritize the new connection to the top of the list and always do these tasks diligently.
Yes, it is difficult at first to talk to strangers and network. And you do not become experts overnight. Even this list is not going to make you an expert overnight. So you have to keep at it. Don’t get disheartened by the initial mess-ups and failures. Remember, practice makes perfect. If you keep talking to people, it will help to improve your confidence level. You will eventually become much better at networking.
The prospect of networking can still be very nerve-wracking. But remember that the other person is there for networking as well. They would like to get to know you too. If you are alone in an event, try to find another individual who is alone too. And try striking up a conversation with them. Slowly, your circle will enlarge as more people join you. And conversations will start flowing.