Networking is one of the most effective and least expensive methods you can use to build new relationships and grow your business. It is a skill that anyone can master, it just requires some practice.
We scoured the world wide web to curate 8 of the most simple yet effective networking tips:
1. Don’t see it as networking, which has the word ‘work’ in it.
The term ‘Networking’ can make relationship-building feel like an obligation or a responsibility, it removes all emotions from the equation and focuses only on immediate goals. Michelle Tillis Lederman, executive trainer and author of ‘The 11 Laws of Likeability’ believes if we can start to reframe this term in our own minds, it won’t feel so forced. “It won’t feel like work, because you’re just being you.”
2. Plan questions ahead of time.
Walking up to a complete stranger and starting a conversation can be quite intimidating, but it helps if you have a few icebreakers in your back pocket. Below are a few simple questions that usually do the trick:
- “What’s your story?” – Always a great conversation starter.
- “What brought you here today?” – This is a great way to find out if you can help them.
- “What’s keeping you busy these days?” – This allows people to choose their focus between their career, personal life, hobbies etc.
- “What’s your favorite book?” – If you’ve already read the book, you can share your thoughts on it. if you haven’t, you can ask about it.
- “What projects are you currently working on?” – Find out more about what they do on a daily basis.
- Where’s your favorite place to hang out in town? – Maybe even arrange to meet up there in future.
3. Set your emotional vibe to curious.
“Rather than gritting your teeth and diving in aggressively, take a moment to re-set the desperate or anxious emotional vibe you’re giving off…setting your emotional vibe to ‘curious’ rather than ‘how-soon-can-I-leave’ or ‘I need everyone to notice me.’ This can go a long way to make people feel at ease. It’s like turning on an inner smile; suddenly you become more of a potential friend and ally, and less of a threat.” – GetStoried
4. Pull, don’t push.
Don’t push a conversation, pull it by asking questions. Nobody likes being sold to or having their ear talked off, so make an effort to find out more about the other person, instead of just talking about yourself the whole time.
Napoleon Hill tells a story about how he went to a dinner party, and afterwards, the hostess thought he was the most charming man in the world. Why? Because he showed interest in her by asking questions.
5. Take notes.
Whenever you receive someone’s business card after having a great conversation, take out a pen and write notes about your conversation on it after they walk away. This will help you to be more specific in your follow-up.
6. Organize your contacts.
Do you have a pile of business cards on your desk, but you can’t quite remember where you got them from or who these people are? This happens all too often. By writing the details on a google sheet, and by arranging the contacts by industry, you’re much more likely to follow up and develop a better relationship. Also, if you lose their business card, you’ll have the information backed up.
7. Do something every day. Make it a habit.
Adam Rifkin is known as ‘the most networked guy in Silicon Valley’, and he recommends connecting with at least one person professionally every day. This could be following up with some you already know, or asking for an introduction from a mutual connection. The more of it you do, the better you can get at it.
8. Don’t forget to follow up.
You may have a great conversation with someone you really click with, but if you don’t follow up with them, there’s a good chance you might never hear from them again. Following up really helps solidify the relationship you’ve built so far. It’s best to follow up within 24 hours of meeting, while you’re still fresh in their memory. You can do this via phone or email, and try to connect on social media, too. Below are a few tips:
- Mention where and when you met.
- Mention a conversation you had at the event.
- Offer to help.
- Ask to meet up.
Remember, luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. It only takes one good connection to make a significant impact on your professional future. The more you network, the better chance you have of meeting this person.