Networking Tips to Grow Your Career or Business
It is not uncommon to believe that networking is simply attending an event or conference and collecting as many business cards as possible by the end of event. In order to grow your career and your business, you will need to understand that networking should always be about quality over quantity and developing key relationships that are equal parts giving as much as taking.
With some practice, and a clear understanding about networking, networking will become second nature and part of your personality. To become a successful networker, you should consider every opportunity when you’re out in the world as a chance to connect and strike a possible business relationship. You never know where or when that person could help or contribute to your business so always be open to connections, even outside of the typical business events and meetings.
So why is networking so important? This exchange of knowledge, resources and ideas from various connections can connect you to key sales opportunities, or take your business or career to the next level while fostering friendships along the way. Here are a few simple networking tips to help you reach business and career success.
1) Reach Out to Your Current Network
Reconnect with old colleagues, bosses, mentors, and friends via LinkedIn and social media. You can even start compiling a spreadsheet that lists their name, current role or business, and contact with a notes section on how they could be helpful to your business/career. It’s important to go back because people are often changing their career path or launching a new business so an old contact could be a new connection now.
2) Do Your Research
If you’ve been invited to an event or dinner, be sure to do your research first. It’s always a much warmer way to start a conversation when you already know about a person’s business and express interest in what they do. If you haven’t been invited to anything, then be proactive. Head to the events section on LinkedIn where you can find happenings near you in a field you’re interested in. Tap into your community on social, look people up on LinkedIn, look up the publicists who emailed you on social, and get as much detail as possible before you head into the room. Be sure to ALWAYS follow up with anyone who you truly hit it off with.
3) Build a Genuine Relationship
The goal of networking is quality over quantity, so view networking as a long game. You want to establish true, honest, real connections and build genuine relationships that last and get better over time. This means giving as much as you’re taking, listening, and sharing in their interests and goals too. Once you’ve hit it off with a business connection, a great way to continue a conversation and build the relationship in a more information setting might be to extend an invitation for dinner or drinks.