Networking is about building connections that matter. This facet of growth and expansion has become pivotal in today's times. Be it connecting with people on social media, one-on-one meetings, or interactions at events or conferences, all professional networking methods have positive implications on our lives. It might seem exhausting to those with limited people skills, but connecting with professionals has an array of benefits. The idea is to connect, expand, and efficiently use your network.
We have curated a list of tips to re-equip your networking skills and help you build a nifty professional web.
What is networking and why is it important?
Networking is all about making quality connections and building relationships with individuals. The aim of connecting with a pro or peers can be diverse, ranging to better job leads, business expansion, enhancing reach and knowledge, or resource expansion. Ultimately your network should enable you to become a member of a well-woven professional community that readily supports and assists.
Networking has a superlative power that succeeds to unravel all concealed possibilities for the betterment of business and career aspects.
Associate with professionals using these professional networking tips to connect with professionals.
- Establish sincere relationships
- Know your purpose with networking
- Devise a plan of action
- Smile often
- Be Real
- Be Social and Outgoing
- Create an impression
- Generosity and Helpfulness
- Be visible in networks
- Attend networking events
- Dress to impress
- Your unique style
- Communicate often
- Engage with a vibrant conversation
- Use your platforms wisely
- Whip out a business card
- Always follow up
- An unconventional approach
- Make networking a habit
- Remain in contact
There is no blueprint to establish connections that matter. The formula lies in how masterfully you use your networking opportunities and skills. While there is particularly no limit to expanding your reach, use these handy tips.
#1 Establish Sincere Relationships
Networking is not merely seeking professional help and neither should be a feigned attempt to expand reach. Sometimes it can induce everlasting friendships or associations as well. Therefore, all networking attempts should be genuine, target mutual interests, promote cooperation, and target common goals.
Your quest to connect with professionals shouldn't be a number game. Efficient networking happens with meaningful conversations. Always seek to make connections that matter. This is one of the many good networking tips.
#2 Know Your Purpose with Networking
There are infinite possibilities with networking. You could promote your services, look for guidance, sniff better career prospects, seek expansion opportunities, or simply aim to build relationships - the possibilities are infinite. To be less unambiguous it is a good idea to know why you are networking in the first place. This will give you a clearer understanding of the people you want to connect with and target specific areas of interest.
Enlist your aims with the professionals you seek to connect with. This will allow you to proceed with a much sorted and transparent approach.
#3 Devise a Plan of Action
When you realize your purpose with networking, the next tip is to chalk out a plan of action and proceed accordingly. Set your goals for each event you attend or for any networking platform you operate. Create a realistic plan that falls in line with your networking skills. For example, attend every event with a set number of people to incorporate in your network.
#4 Smile Often
A simile or a welcoming body language will make the conversation more friendly and light. The key to successful networking is to cast a memorable impression and this begins with your calming personality and aura. Always start and end a discussion with a smile to seem more lively and engaged.
#5 Be Real
A common mistake people make when networking is their overt usage of a sales pitch. The most natural and pleasing conversations are the ones that people are likely to remember. Modulate your tone and your words wisely. Try to share your opinion and your passions instead of selling them. It is best to keep things real and casual.
#6 Be Social and Outgoing
Introverts may find networking a daunting task at first. The perfect strategy for people who are shy or struggle with inhibitions is to begin small. Initiate your networking journey with the social media platforms you operate. Kool Stories is one such remarkable social networking platform to network with people from all walks of life. Simply find like-minded people, connect, and socialize. Gradually, expand your reach by attending small meetups within your social circle, attend sporting events with an extended group of friends, host small parties, or become a member of a club. Develop your habit of socializing and ease into the process. Being social or outgoing is one of the common tips for networking at conferences. Approaching others and creating a network in this manner always works.
#7 Create an Impression
First impressions matter a lot. A social networking strategy where you randomly approach people and deliver the same vanilla speech won't be of much use. The answer to creating a remarkable first impression lies in knowing the people you want to connect with.
Do background research to:
- know their preferences
- read up on their area of interest
- figure out their pain points
- cite their passions
The idea is to find what makes your potential connection click to start a scintillating conversation.
#8 Generosity and Helpfulness
Business relationships are erected on the principle of mutual exchange and benefit. An altruistic and supportive outlook will greatly benefit the way you network.
The ideal method of setting up and maintaining all connections you make is by being genuine and helpful. Take a genuine interest in people’s projects, demand, or need. Offer help without expecting any favors in return. The trick to successful networking lies in creating a relationship based on goodwill, honesty, mutual help, and cooperation.
Likewise, it is totally acceptable to ask your connection for help. The professionals you connect with will be inclined to offer sincere advice and guidance anytime.
#9 Be Visible In Networks
Being visible and active is indicative of your dedication, participation, and commitment.
This holds true for your social media presence and your conduct at an event too. Responding to people's blogs, tweets, contributing to a conversation, supporting a cause are all ways to be vocal and visible. They hint at your eagerness to learn, associate, help, and engage.
#10 Attend Networking Events
You cannot limit networking to the extent of your social media handles. It is quintessential to attend industry-relevant conferences and meet people in real life. Through these events, you have the opportunity to meet people with similar interests and ameliorate shared benefits.
Not only this, but you can also diversify the events you attend. Apart from those events specific to your industry, attend others who are outside your circle.
#11 Dress to Impress
Your dressing style and body language are essential when you aim to cast that flawless first impression. Dress according to the event you are attending. A bonus tip is to wear footwear that is both formal and comfortable. There are certain colors and styles to avoid at a professional event. Research into such domains or seek help from your peers.
#12 Your Unique Style
Networking requires effort. All the efforts you put range from research to preparation of the opening speech, to body language modification, etc, all make up your unique networking style. A singular networking style doesn't exist. Once you can identify your networking skills and suitability, it would be feasible to crop up your unique style. This style will precisely highlight your preferred networking platforms along with the people you want to associate with.
#13 Communicate Often
Networking doesn't end with striking conversation or exchanging business cards. It is a process thriving on increased and regular communication. Therefore, many refer to networking as a social commitment or a habit that needs to be implemented to realize its full potential.
#14 Engage with a Vibrant Conversation
Be it at a social event, conference, or through an online networking portal, the way into someone's networking circle is a charismatic conversation. Professionals get approached at gatherings all the time. They are spammed with messages on social media too. The intriguing manner in which you strike a conversation is your selling point. Devise a game plan for networking that sets you apart from the crowd. Focus on enhancing communication skills and engaging with a vibrant conversation.
#15 Use your Platforms Wisely
Many platforms can be used to expand your network. These settings could be both formal and informal and range from social media portals like Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, blogs, events, parties, and charities. As discussed above there are no specific physical or virtual limitations to your networking method.
Therefore, all platforms you use to socialize must be utilized wisely to their fullest potential. For example, each feature of social media handles should speak of your credibility and resourcefulness as a connection through posts, publishings, recommendations, and endorsements.
#16 Whip out a Business Card
When attending an event keep your business card handy at all times. Allocate specific locations to the business cards you want to give out and to those that you receive from others. You will definitely cast an impression when you smoothly implant a business card on a professional connection.
#17 Always Follow up
You may have succeeded in engaging them in a lively conversation but without planting a solid medium that facilitates further conversation, all your initial networking efforts will go in vain.
Networking doesn't end with the exchange of a business card or a hearty conversation. It is an on-going process that calls for a follow up later. This is vital to establish a line of connection. All successful networkers can implement their networking strategy with prompt follow-ups. A great way to concrete any connection you make is by asking for connection requests on social media platforms like LinkedIn or a friendly email somewhere after a day or two of meeting someone.
#18 An Unconventional Approach
There are no confines to networking. In fact, most fluent networkers grab any and all opportunities to connect. You don't necessarily need a formal setting, an event, or a networking platform. Start an engrossing conversation whenever the opportunity strikes. For instance, shared cab rides, long queues, yard sales, parking lots, volunteering unions can be shaped into a networking opportunity.
#19 Make Networking a Habit
Networking should be made a part of your daily drill. Aim to introduce or reach out to people on a daily or weekly basis. Establishing networks takes time and practising it routinely is a healthy habit.
#20 Remain in Contact
Networking is not only about incorporating new people to your list of connections. It is about maintaining contact and building relationships with those previously established contacts as well. A working game plan is to increase the frequency and mutuality of exchange with these prevailing connections.
A healthy practice is to reach out every now and then. This way you get to stay updated and maintain regular engagement.
These were our top 20 tips on networking. Swing these tips into action and connect with professionals like a pro on the Kool Stories app. Download the app, select your skills, interests and passions and make valuable connections with people across the globe. Grab all opportunities to network and unlock a wide realm of learning and upskilling with Kool Stories.
Frequently Asked Queries
Q1. How do I get better at networking?
The ultimate goal of networking is to make real connections with people you come across from all walks of life. A successful networker can easily whip up a conversation, speak on a topic, persuade and cast an impression. To make your networking ventures more meaningful, adopt these tips:
1.Use social media to meet new people.
2.Make use of your extended friend circle to engage in conversation.
3.Be genuinely interested in people to have a meaningful conversation.
4.Don’t beat about the bush and be short and direct.
5.Become an active listener and give room to the other person to speak.
6.Stay in touch and follow up.
7.Build an amicable online presence.
Q2. What are the basics of networking?
Networking, or the art of making new connections, is all about building authentic relationships. Here, an exchange of ideas, opinions and experiences help build a strong understanding. If you are keen to learn how to network, focus on the basics - Engaging, Listening, Gathering information, and Following up.
Q3. What are five strategies for effective networking?
Networking can be challenging if you do not have strategies or a plan of action in place. Since connecting with people is a necessary evil to get that exposure and growth in your career, these five strategies are highly effective:
1.Dive into your existing contacts and build your network with people you already know.
2.Practice talking about yourself and your career, mentioning the significant highlights and achievements while staying modest.
3.Do your research first before approaching anybody (in person or electronically).
4.Be a good listener.
5.Follow up and keep in touch with your old connections.
Q4. How do I network like a professional?
Professional networking means more than just accepting invitations to LinkedIn and keeping people connected to advance your career. This does not mean bombarding people with emails but keeping the channels of communication open. It is about developing a group of peers that you can reach out to and feel comfortable reaching out to for professional and personal conversations.
Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how you can network professionally:
2.Be genuinely interested to know about the people you reach out to.
3.Go on social media for a slice of virtual networking.
4.Be original and authentic in your demeanour.
5.Plant a business card.
6.Follow up and stay connected with the people you network.
Q5. How do you network when you are shy?
When you are an introvert, networking becomes a necessary evil. You may hate it, but you definitely cannot outrun it. Here are all the networking tips you will ever need as a shy person:
1.Reach out to people on your own.
2.When you are at an industry event, make it a goal to meet at least three people.
3.Don’t put pressure on yourself by making scenarios in your head.
4.Calm your nerves and play what you are going to say in your head.
5.Try going solo and practice confidence if you are in a new surrounding.
6.Keep your connections alive by interacting with them regularly.