Networking is a huge part of many people’s career. In fact, their success often hinges on how well they can network to generate sales, new clients or investments. The truth is, not many people make it to the top without a little help along the way, so here’s 5 easy ways to improve your networking game.
Say “yes” to opportunities
How many times have you deleted an email inviting you to an event without giving it a thought? Sure, some of these are spam and may have no relevance to you, but others could be life-changing. Whether it’s a seminar, a conference, a training course or a product launch, if you’re invited, give it some thought.
Even if the event isn’t exactly your cup of tea, you may find some great opportunities to network and take your career further.
Take your networking online
Networking is no longer just for seminars and conferences. A whole lot of networking is done online, especially through LinkedIn. It’s worth spending some time making your profile look great, because there are some terrific opportunities on LinkedIn. Remember though, when using this platform, don’t just be on there to sell something. Comment on people’s posts, show an interest, and make real connections.
Also, if you meet someone interesting at an event, find them on LinkedIn and connect later, because this reinforces the relationship.
Don’t always try to sell something
Just like on LinkedIn, when you’re meeting new people, put the salesperson routine away. You’ll make much better connections with people if you’re not trying to sell them anything. It’s fine to talk about what you do, but don’t treat every person you meet like a sale.
The most important thing is to listen. Networking doesn’t mean constantly selling or promoting yourself, rather it’s a chance to learn from others and find possible future opportunities.
Show interest in other people’s lives
People at business events actually sometimes get tired of talking business all the time. When you meet people, try to take an interest in their lives outside of work. What hobbies do they have? Do they have kids? Are they involved in sports or community groups? People enjoy feeling like more than just their business persona, so treating them like a human goes a long way.
Brush up that tired old business card
Finally, you might think in this digital age that business cards are a thing of the past. This couldn’t be further from the truth. However, those boring old white business cards won’t get you noticed. Try for something interesting that people can’t help but love.
Choose some interesting colouring, or even make your card a slightly different shape. But most importantly, get all of your key details on the card. If you want to do some serious business, your Instagram and Twitter accounts may not be relevant, but make sure your LinkedIn address is there. Make them remember you with great business card design.
Ultimately, the key is to network well, and network often. It’s a skill that you can develop over time, rather than something that’s bred into all of us. If you’re not comfortable networking, take small steps and build your confidence, because you’ll see the benefits once you up your networking game.