TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE NETWORKING
To actually be successful in the business world, effective networking is as important as the success itself.
Meeting people and creating business relationships are the necessary foundations for a successful business career. It helps you recognize, build, or act upon business opportunities; while still also helping you share information and seek potential partners for your various business ventures.
Networking isn’t just meeting people, it is also getting that interview or getting their résumé noticed by human resources.
1. Information not Job
When networking, always remember you are seeking information, not a job position. Making friends with strangers because there is a job opening at his or her firm will only put you in a tight spot. This might destroy the only opportunity you have at getting that job, instead; seek more information about the firm and give out important points about your personal and professional life, with relation to the job opening.
2. Familiar Faces First
It is always best to start with the members of the crowd you know, before expanding to their acquaintances and finally, the total strangers in the crowd.
Also, it is best to practice with your friend before making a move on a potential subject. And lastly, using referral names can go a long way in making the whole process shorter and less stressful. Have in mind what you want to talk about, the topic, the pitch, but don’t stress on it, go with the flow.
While the delay built in to most social network communication makes it easier to “think before you speak”; some contacts you meet will prefer the immediacy of phone calls or instant messaging. In these cases, be prepared to give the name of your referral (if you have one), state why you’re contact them (for information not a job) and ask a short list of questions about your contact’s area of expertise. Putting these thoughts together ahead of time can save you the embarrassment of now knowing what to say.
However, be careful not to over-prepare, since this can easily turn into an excuse for putting off your first contact. Or worse, you can get so married to a specific script that you blank when a conversation strays to another subject.
3. No One Is Perfect at This
It is only normal, not everyone is perfect and not everyone is the same. The truth is you were never meant to be friends with everyone so have it in mind that there will be good and bad days. Consistency, persistence and a sense of humor are the major keys to networking.
And if you find yourself putting off networking because you don’t like doing it, come up with a plan that will serve as a proof. Promise someone you will make 5 contacts a week, and give them reports on your progress. Dedicate time just for networking. Tell yourself you will connect with 7 people before you do any other activities. Then reward yourself for sticking to your plan.
4. Discussions and Topics
Never go in blindly! Ensure you have done your homework on the company, industry or career of your contact. Have in mind a list of questions, including some that deal specifically with their background. Also, ask for advice on your job search, and the names of other professionals who would be beneficial to connect with. Think about ways you might help, like suggesting other contacts they might find useful.
5. Stay In Touch
If you are referred to other people by your contact; ensure you keep in touch about how the new connections are going as they might also come in handy. Your contact will also feel gratified that their contacts were useful, and will admire you for seizing available opportunities which will be good for you both personally and professionally.