Successful networking – 6 hints and tips
Published: October 2017
6 simple tips for successful networking
Successful networking is often misunderstood, striking fear into some, and with others, they see it as an excuse to shout about themselves from the rooftops. Whether you are a small business, a creative professional or somebody in the workplace wanting to advance their career, a supportive network is key.
Surprisingly, the path to successful networking is an easy one. Here are six simple tips to help you become an effective networker.
1. Start small
It may seem counterintuitive however rapidly growing your network may not be as useful as it seems. Therefore, concentrate on quality, not quantity.
Identify key people you wish to work with and connect with them. Prove yourself to be approachable and reliable and you will have a validated introduction into their network.
2. What can you do for others?
Most people’s initial instinct when networking is to quickly get as much information about themselves out there in the hope that they get noticed. As everybody is doing this, how do you stand out?
By listening to others and suggesting ways you can help them you are much more likely to be remembered. Think about the type of person you would want to help, is it someone who did you a favour or someone who gave you a sales pitch?
Support others and they will support you.
3. Attend networking meetings
There are many networking meetings taking place every month for a variety of groups from business owners, to creative talent, to software professionals with a niche interest.
Face to face networking is the most effective approach so choose a meeting that is most appropriate for you. Do your research; first impressions count and you don’t want to be somewhere that you feel out of your depth.
Some may feel uncomfortable at the thought of attending networking meetings but they are a valuable source of new contacts. Everybody is there for the same reason so there is no reason to feel intimidated.
Be engaged throughout the meeting; body language matters. If you are slouched in your chair, checking your phone whilst others are speaking, they will remember. Make notes and approach those you think you can help. Remembering names correctly makes a huge difference, have a look at the attendees list if you can.
Ensure you are enthused about yourself because if you aren’t passionate about your product, nobody else will be. Have a very clear idea of who you are and what you do. Ensure your description is concise enough to deliver a two-sentence introduction at the beginning of the meeting and can be expanded when speaking to individuals.
4. Find common ground
Successful networking doesn’t always have to be business related first and foremost. Find a common interest and it is always easier to engage in conversation.
5. Use social media effectively
Social media is essential to any successful networking strategy however you need to tread carefully. Understand the platform you are using and don’t bombard your network with information about yourself. The word ‘social’ is key here, if you constantly advertise you will quickly be deleted or muted.
Once you have been interacting with people for a while, it is more acceptable for you to drop in information about yourself and for them to take notice.
Engage with people and grow your audience organically. It is very easy to get thousands of LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook followers but they need to be the right kind.
Look out for local Twitter events. Many regions have weekly hours that are dedicated to promoting businesses. Get involved but don’t just advertise; comment, retweet, strike up conversation.
6. Follow up actions
It’s key that you share contact details when networking. Some people prefer electronic contacts but old fashioned business cards are still popular, ensure you have a plentiful supply. Make sure you take their contact details as well.
Once you’ve met somebody, follow up with an email, a phone call or a simple mention on social media. Don’t rely on them to make the first move. Try and contact them with something specific that you have discussed to prompt a response.
In conclusion, Successful networking is largely down to common sense, help others and they will help you.
Make sure your contacts can find your business
If someone wants to find your business after a connection, ensure you have a solid website that is up to date and easily found. Make sure your social profiles are active and updated. Here at web design Newcastle, Urban River, we can help create a strong web presence for your business – get in touch for a chat.