It is important to understand that knowing people can get you places. Networking opens new opportunities that were most likely not available to you until you made a significant connection with another individual. Anyone has the ability to network any day and anywhere, however, there are specific events in which networking is the main purpose. So, however and wherever you choose to network is up to you, but below are some helpful hints when it comes to understanding how to do it properly.
Network Before You Need It
Going to networking events even when you do not really need any specific help or connections can be helpful in the long run. If people know and understand that you are not looking for a favor from them, your connection will become more genuine and friendly rather than forced and for a purpose. Networking when you aren’t aiming for a top connection will give you some great practice with no pressure.
Understand Your Value
Have a plan of what you wish to talk about and how you want to present yourself. You should have an elevator speech ready to go. An elevator speech is a clear, brief message or “commercial” about you. It communicates who you are, what you’re looking for and how you can benefit a company or organization. It’s typically about 30 seconds, the time it takes people to ride from the top to the bottom of a building in an elevator. This tactic could be helpful for your networking purposes because it will give you something to think back upon when talking about yourself. You will have to judge how formal you should be depending on the networking situation.
Be Open, Friendly, and Honest
Although great for networking this is an extremely attractive way to present yourself in general. By being pleasant with people whom you have just met, you will create a positive memory of yourself. People also often tend to remember if someone is either really nice or really mean so being friendly is just common sense.
Dr. Ivan Misner Founder and Chairman of Business Network International states, “networking is a contact sport. You have to get out and connect with people.” This basically means that people can’t know you if you don’t put yourself out there. So try to be visible and outgoing without being overbearing. This means going to events regularly and actively participating. It can also include volunteering for a non-profit project.
Try to See the Value in Everyone
Don’t brush someone off just because they do not hold a leadership or high up position in an organization. Anyone within the organization could be your connection to people at the top. For example the front desk employee for a company may be the CEO’s daughter, so if you are friendly to her that could become an amazing connection, however, if you are rude or unpleasant towards her you could have lost your shot at gaining any position for that company.
Make Sure to Follow Up and Follow Through
To keep a good and lasting impression, if you told someone you would get in touch with them make sure you do. The only way you will be able to keep the connections that you have made is to stay in some type of contact with them. This eliminates you showing up out of the blue to ask for a recommendation or help finding a job.
If you feel like any of this is overwhelming due to having a shy nature, Business Insider recommends that you check out this article: Networking for Shy Individuals
Networking is all about how you represent yourself and communicate with others. It is important to remember that sometimes a diverse network is better than a large network. A diverse network will help spread your connectors out into different areas. Remember to never ask anyone for something if you have just met them, this is not a great first impression. It is first important to show people who you are while remaining professional before you ask for any favors.