Why Is Networking Important?
One of the most important aspects of the businesses world is networking. It is often the key to progressing in your professional life and your career as a whole. It can also have a big impact on your organization, bringing in new business and potential clients, or even attracting new employees and partners.
Research has shown that networking is essential in today’s business environment. Building professional relationships between individuals and organizations can lead to better opportunities, better business knowledge, swifter progress through innovation, and increased job satisfaction. Whilst it is not always a welcome task, the importance of networking cannot be overlooked.
Eight Top Tips For Successful Networking
You may never learn to love networking but with some useful tips, you can learn to network more confidently and naturally. Here are eight helpful tips that can help you get the most out of your networking experience:
Networking is a skill like any other, and improving any skill requires practice. Start off with a guidebook to networking, which is a great way to pick up some of the basics. Then, as strange as it may sound, practice those skills with friends, family, and colleagues. Practicing business talk casually with co-workers will help practice networking in a professional setting and you may learn interesting information or news from colleagues you can share in other networking situations.
2. Join Casual Networking Groups
Many business sectors will have informal networking groups, where professionals can get together with others in their field in a casual setting. These industry mixers are more like social gatherings than formal networking events making them more relaxed environments. This will allow for less stressful interactions, whilst still forming businesses connections and relationships.
3. Try Online Networking
Online communities are another valuable way to practice your networking skills, without the intimidation a novice in networking can feel at a formal event. Professional social media services, such as LinkedIn, are a great place to connect with other professionals. You can find useful advice, scout for potential employers or employees, and learn more about contacts you may plan on meeting at upcoming events. Even non-professional social media services can be of use. For example, on Twitter, there are hundreds of ‘Twitter Hours’, where professionals can discuss issues in their particular sectors, with like-minded individuals.
4. Have a Positive Attitude
Those who attend a networking event with a negative attitude, are likely to have minimal or slow career profession. Instead, treat networking events as an opportunity to meet new people through that new business relationships can result and help to reframe your perspective to see it as an opportunity to learn.
5. Work the Room
Showing up to a networking event and standing off to the sidelines is not going to work. You will have to make yourself visible, so your fellow professionals will know who you are. You don’t need to jump directly into business talk, you can discuss other areas of interest to build up a rapport. The more you learn about a contact, the stronger your professional relationship will become. Ask questions and learn more about individuals you speak with allowing the conversation to flow naturally from there.
6. Invest in Relationships
How do your business goals and interests match up with the professionals you meet at networking events? Having these similarities will not only forge good working relationships but also help you to reach your desired goals. Mutual contributions to a business relationship will ensure its longevity. However, having shared professional interests is not vital to forming strong business relationships, as you are likely to have something else to offer, whether it be your time as a sounding board or an insight into a different aspect of business. If you don’t have the skills a professional contact needs, but have someone in your network who does, share that information. It is a great way to build trust, which is vital in forming strong business relationships.
7. Build A Diverse Network
Forming a diverse business network, with professionals with expertise in a variety of business sectors, will be extremely beneficial. The more diverse your connections are, the wider your network will be on the whole. With a diverse business network, you are sure to meet contacts, you may never have met otherwise.
8. Maintain Business Relationships
The professional relationships you make need maintenance just like any other relationship. If you have a spare moment, email or call one of your new business contacts. It does not have to be about business, it could be to send birthday wishes, offer congratulations on a new deal, or just to check in. If you don’t reciprocate and maintain your business relationships, they will not survive.