HOW to be a BETTER Networker

Networking, both in-person and online, is a vital skill in today’s interconnected world. Whether you’re seeking new career opportunities, building professional relationships, or expanding your knowledge base, effective networking can open doors and create valuable connections.

Here are some actionable strategies to enhance your networking prowess, both offline and on the web.

In-Person Networking:

  1. Be Approachable: A welcoming demeanor goes a long way in initiating conversations. Maintain open body language, make eye contact, and offer a genuine smile to signal approachability.
  2. Craft Your Introduction: Prepare a concise yet compelling introduction that succinctly communicates who you are, what you do, and what you’re passionate about. Keep it under 30-seconds to maintain interest and facilitate smooth interactions.
  3. Listen Actively: Effective networking isn’t just about talking; it’s about listening attentively to others. Show genuine interest in their stories, ask relevant questions, and demonstrate empathy to build rapport.
  4. Attend Networking Events: Seek out industry-specific conferences, seminars, and meetups where you can connect with like-minded professionals. Be proactive in introducing yourself and engaging in meaningful conversations.
  5. Follow Up: After making initial connections, don’t let them fizzle out. Follow up with new contacts using the “three I’s (ASK ME ABOUT THIS SUCCESS TACTIC). Personalized follow-ups can strengthen budding relationships.

Online Networking:

  1. Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile: LinkedIn is a powerful tool for professional networking. Ensure your profile is complete and up-to-date, with a professional photo, compelling headline, and detailed summary showcasing your skills and accomplishments.
  2. Utilize Social Media Platforms: Beyond LinkedIn, leverage other social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to expand your network. Follow relevant influencers, participate in chats and share informative content to foster connections.
  3. Engage with Content: Engage with others’ content by liking, commenting, and sharing posts that resonate with you. This not only enhances your visibility but also demonstrates your interest and expertise in specific topics.
  4. Attend Virtual Events: In the era of remote work and virtual gatherings, take advantage of online conferences, webinars, and networking events. Use platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams to connect with industry peers, exchange ideas, and forge new relationships.

Solid Suggestions for Both:

  1. Offer Value: Whether in-person or online, focus on how you can add value to others rather than solely seeking benefits for yourself. Share your expertise, offer assistance, and provide resources to help others succeed.
  2. Follow the 80/20 Rule: Strive to spend 80% of your networking efforts on giving and only 20% on receiving. Building genuine relationships is about generosity and reciprocity, not transactional exchanges.
  3. Maintain Authenticity: Being “real” is key to building trust and credibility in networking. Be genuine in your interactions, share your unique perspective, and stay true to your values and principles.
  4. Expand Your Circle: Don’t limit yourself to networking within your immediate industry or profession. Embrace diversity and seek out connections from different backgrounds, industries, and perspectives to broaden your horizons.
  5. Practice Consistency: Networking is not a one-time activity but an ongoing process. Dedicate time regularly to nurture existing connections, cultivate new ones, and stay active in relevant communities both offline and online.

Effective networking is not just about building a list of contacts; it’s about fostering meaningful relationships built on trust, mutual respect, and shared interests.