When it comes to finding success in virtually any business, no matter what field you are in, chances are people will tell you it is all about networking. Whether you are networking online or in person, having a strong group of professional contacts can only help you in the business world. However, even though networking is a “must” for so many professionals, so many of us struggle to learn how to, and successfully network. If you want to be a more successful networker, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Never Leave Without Scheduling Another Meeting
Networking events are a great place to meet people, but in order to take these interactions to the next level, you need to make sure you are scheduling at least one follow-up meeting. It can seem overwhelming or intimidating to make the first move and ask someone you just met for another meeting, it may even seem like you are asking someone out on a date, but there is no need to be overwhelmed. Most people will expect this at a networking event. Make sure that you really take the time to schedule one of these follow ups before you leave and you can rest assured that your event was a success.
Pay Attention to Strong Connections
Forming strong connections at a couple of networking events is a great way to get started in being a successful networker. However, this is only half the battle. You need to pay close attention to strong connections and make sure that you are nurturing those relationships so they become even stronger. A mediocre connection is not as powerful as a really strong connection, so take the time to really solidify some of the connections you have and grow them.
Try to Relax
Networking does not have to be synonymous with nerve-wracking. The first thing you should do is relax and try to remind yourself that everyone is in the same boat as you. Networking is not an aggressive thing; you shouldn’t be trying to get noticed more than everyone else, be pushy or bombard others. If you feel yourself doing this, take a moment to calm down.
Listen, Listen, Listen!
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when it comes to networking is that they try to talk more than they listen. This is actually pretty common, in fact many people tend to talk more than they normally do at networking events because they are nervous, or because they think they are doing the right thing. You need to do the opposite, by listening more than you speak. If you show another person that you are truly interested in them, rather than trying to get them interested in you, then chances are you will form far more solid connections.
Ultimately, when it comes to networking, your number one responsibility is to focus on meeting new, strong connections. It is not about meeting as many people as possible, but about meeting the right people and forming a strong bond with them. Keep this mind and you will find yourself with that strong professional network you need to help your professional pursuits flourish.