When it comes to your business and career, one of the best ways to get ahead is by networking. Yet, so many people dread the thought of networking, and find it to be a daunting task. Even if you hate networking, it’s important to understand the benefits it can have to your career. Today we’re going to share some of the top tips and tricks for connecting with new people.
What are the benefits of networking?
Before getting into our tips and strategies for networking, you must understand its benefits to your career. Understanding these benefits will give you further motivation to make connections. It will also encourage you to network with new people even when you find it to be a difficult task.
Networking can help you to meet new people and advance your career. It’s a great way to meet potential clients or to receive recommendations for potential customers. If you are looking to find a job, networking is one of the top ways to find a placement.
You’ll also find you can receive some fantastic career advice and support by networking. This may help you further your career or increase your confidence. Nowadays, you’ll find networking to be an essential part to trying to find a job.
Top Tips for Networking
When you follow the top networking tips below, you’ll find you can approach people with ease. Try to use networking to your advantage when looking for new clients or finding a job.
Quality over Quantity
It can be tempting to think that networking is all about trying to meet as many people in as short a time as possible. That’s not the case at all. You’ll want to ensure every conversation you have is a quality interaction. These conversations should have the potential to help you in the future.
Keep this in mind the next time you are at a large event. It’s important to remember this if you feel overwhelmed about trying to network. Focus on those people who have the strongest links to your industry. Otherwise, keep talking to anyone who has a genuine interest in your work and what you offer.
Choose Events That Suit You
Networking doesn’t always have to take place at huge business events. If you dread networking situations, they will make you feel shy and uncomfortable. Instead, consider networking in small groups or one-on-one meetings. Try to find an environment where your personality will shine.
The right environment will allow you to express yourself with confidence. Don’t get wrapped up in the idea that networking must look a certain way. Try to find a way to make it work for you so that it becomes something you don’t hate doing so much.
To find a job, choose the right events that will help you achieve this goal. Make sure you are just targeting events within your industry for the best chance of success.
Try Networking Online
As the name suggests, social networks provide an excellent way to meet and network with interesting new people. While most online networks platforms are well suited for sharing and engaging with friends over your social and personal life, there are several great online communities focused on work-life matters.
The pioneer in this space is LinkedIn which continues to provide the best community for white-collar professionals. The Dots is a great community for creative professionals. Our community at Umwuga consists of people who work in services industries such as domestic and office cleaning, hair styling, and childcare. We also cater well to trades industries such as electrical, plumbing, and painting services.
A key benefit of online network is that you can search for, and browse the profiles of, people before working up the courage to reach out and introduce yourself to them. If meeting new people is a somewhat uncomfortable action for you, this can be a great way of limiting your interactions to just the handful of people who could truly be helpful to you.
Make a Good First Impression
You only get one chance to make an excellent first impression to someone you have recently met. So make sure you plan how you will approach people at events.
Always maintain good body language, smile and make eye contact. Try to have a couple of go-to lines you always use to start a conversation so you don’t feel shy.
Practice makes perfect in this area. You’ll soon find that you can open a conversation with an interesting question or remark. This will then encourage the other person to engage with you.
Then, try to find common ground with the other person. You can then discuss shared passions or interests and build a bond based on these.
Set Yourself Goals
The next time you find yourself in a networking situation, try to set yourself small and achievable goals. This will help to push yourself out of your comfort zone, and make the most of the opportunity presented to you.
These goals need to be realistic and not too overwhelming. Select something as simple as approaching three new people or exchanging contact details with one person at the event.
By having these goals in mind, you’ll be more inclined to push yourself to interact with new people. This can then help you work towards long term goals such as trying to find a job. It will also give you the motivation to stay at the event for the full length of time.
Be a Good Listener
One of the most important elements of communication is being a good listener. If you find yourself to be very shy and awkward during conversations, adopt the role of a listener. This is much better than trying to fill every gap in the conversation.
By preparing yourself with a good set of questions, you can allow the other person to talk about their life. Most people love talking about themselves and their achievements. They’ll think you care about what they have to say when you practise good listening skills.
Follow Up on Time Every Time
Networking is only the beginning of forming good connections. The follow-up and future contact are as important as the start of a relationship. When you create a good connection in the future, whether at work or at an event, ensure you ask for contact details.
Drop the other person an email or message after your meeting. This can be a simple message, to say how much you enjoyed your conversation. By encouraging open communication, you are much more likely to keep in contact in the future.
You’ll be one of the first people they think of when they need a new cleaner or handyman for their business. Remember to always be natural and genuine with your follow up and communication. You don’t want to come across as too pushy at any point.
By following these tips and tricks above, you’ll find that networking becomes easier and more enjoyable. Networking is so valuable for anyone’s business or career. Using the strategies above will help you to engage in enjoyable and genuine conversations. Moving forward, this will help you make new connections with ease.