10 Ways to Improve Your Networking Skills
Your network can do wonders for your career and overall success in life, both professionally and personally. Building relationships with the right people can open you up to opportunities you never imagined possible, but it can be awkward if you don’t know how to approach it in the right way. Here are 10 ways to improve your networking skills so that you can start building your thriving network today!
1) Start With Yourself
Get clear on your goals. What do you like to gain by networking? Who do you want to meet? When you know what you’re looking for, it is easier to find the correct events to connect.
2) Build Relationships on Trust
Networking is not just about attending events and collecting business cards. It’s about building relationships with people you can trust.
3) Pick Events That Appeal to You
- Look for events that attract the kind of people you want to meet. If you’re looking to meet startup founders, for example, go to startup events.
- Find out which events will have the most people attending. You can usually find this information on the event’s website or through a quick Google search.
- Get involved with planning the event. It is a great way to meet the right people and get the most out of the event.
- Volunteer to help at the event. It is another way to get involved and make sure you meet people that interested in what you do.
- Bring business cards and exchange them with people you meet.
4) Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
- Get out of your comfort zone. You’ll never meet new people when you’re always hanging out with the same old crowd. So challenge yourself to socialize in new settings and with new groups of people.
- Seek out networking events. Check your local chamber of commerce or search online for industry-specific events in your area. Then make it a point to attend at least one event each month.
- Talk to strangers. The next time you’re standing in line at the grocery store or waiting for a table at a restaurant, strike up a conversation with the person next to you. Not only will it help pass the time, but you might also just make a new friend or business connection.
- Be a good listener.
5) Have a Conversation Starter Ready
When you’re at a networking event, it’s necessary to have a conversation starter ready. It will help you break the ice and get the conversation flowing.
6) Follow Up with Everyone (Just Ask!)
If you aren’t sure how to follow up with someone after meeting them, just ask! They’ll be happy to provide their contact information and tell you the best way to stay in touch. By following up, you’re showing that you’re interested in building a relationship and that you value their time.
7) Prepare for Meetings and Conferences
Whether you’re a natural networker or not, preparing for meetings and conferences can help you make the most of your time and meet new people.
8) Don’t Over Share
- When you’re networking, it is vital to be open and honest about who you are and what you do. But there is such a thing as transferring too much information.
- When you meet someone new, resist the urge to tell them your entire life story. Instead, focus on building rapport by asking questions and listening more than you talk.
- Remember that networking is about making connections, not selling yourself or your product.
9) Go the Extra Mile
It never hurts to go the extra mile, especially when it comes to networking.
10) Keep Track of Everything
The best way to improve your networking skills is to keep track of everything. Who you talked to, when you spoke to them, what you talked about, and how you can help them. This way, you can follow up with people and continue building relationships. Plus, it shows that you’re interested in meeting new people and deepening your existing relationships.
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