Networking is a crucial step to building connections and advancing a business. Through networking, people often find and provide valuable resources to one another. Networking is more than just talking to numerous people and letting them know what you do on a daily basis, networking is an exchange of ideas and information. For some, networking comes naturally, but for others practice may be needed. These 5 tips will ensure that you are ready to make long-lasting connections as your network.
Build your current network
You have a network of people that you currently interact with on a daily basis. By developing your bond with these people, you will get a better understanding of how you created the bond in the first place and what has allowed the bond to hold strong for so long. Your goal should be to learn more about the people that you talk to, rather than focus on what they may be able to offer you.
Connect the dots
You should not network just to have a bunch of contacts in your contact list. Approach networking with the goal of building a permanent relationship that is useful for both people in your network and yourself. You should aim to solve problems or assist people with anything that they may need; connect the missing links of a chain. As you network more, you will gather more resources, utilize these resources to help someone solve their issues.
Mean what you say
As you continue to network, you will want to develop and maintain a strong reputation. You should always do what you say you are going to do. In a world where many people under-perform, doing exactly what you tell people you are going to do makes you much more valuable and respectable. Respect is what you want when networking.
As previously mentioned, you should not network to build a long contact list. Your primary goal should be building permanent relationships; which you do by learning as much as you can about the people that you converse with. By inquiring about, and remembering, small details, such as the things that they like, you will leave a great impression on them. You will pose yourself as someone who actually cares, which you should, rather than someone who wants to use people for what they offer.
Supplemental to meaning what you say, you should be specific when talking about what you are going to do or what you want. By being clear and specific, people will know what to expect from you, or understand what they need to do for you. Transparency will increase people’s trust in you, which in turn will not only make those people respect you more but will also allow you to earn the respect of outsiders who may not know you yet.
Networking should be natural, not forced. You should build connections with people that you admire and respect. In turn, this will allow you to be more authentic and helpful towards them. By using these tips you will develop a strong network of people who you can turn to, and can turn towards you, on a consistent basis.