Networking Tips For Making Meaningful Connections
There is no denying the impact a strong network would have on your overall professional performance. In fact, Hubspot estimates that 85% of jobs are filled through networking. Another survey by Linkedin shows that 70% of people hired in 2016 had at least one connection in the company.
Having an established network is essential for professionals because of the benefits that come with it. Sometimes, the idea of networking might be unpleasant and might not even go as you have imagined. Still, we believe that anyone can learn how to network properly. This guide will walk you through how to network effectively and build meaningful connections.
Networking involves meeting new people, interacting and exchanging information to build a professional social circle. It can come in multiple forms, including one-on-one meetings, conference calls with mentors/mentees, industry events and even social media interactions like Linkedin groups, Twitter space chats, etc. Networking is also not just restricted to professional settings, it can also happen in very casual settings like a bar.
Some of the benefits of networking include:
- Growing your career: According to CNBC, 70% of positions are never made publicly available. Most job postings are done mostly internally. Many companies hire through introductions, referrals and recommendations, which makes networking an important springboard for your career.
- Discovering great opportunities: Networking allows you to find new employment opportunities or career paths that you may not have previously considered. People influence other people, and networking enables you to live a little through many people from different walks of life. Building relationships with professionals within and outside your field can expose you to opportunities that might otherwise be outside your reach.
- Contributes to your Social wellbeing: Networking is mutual and can strengthen your social life and create ties to last a lifetime. Although the main aim of networking is for professional gains, and it might not be a fast route to making friends, many friendships and partnerships started with networking. Networking isn’t just about getting; it’s also about giving, which is important to foster a cordial atmosphere. Networking can also ensure you always have resources available to you.
Tips To Network The Right Way.
You do not have to fake being an extrovert to network well. While people consider it cumbersome and barely achievable, here are our top ten tips that would help you network easily.
Start small. To begin your networking journey, it is advisable to start small and reach out to people you already know, like your previous acquaintances – a classmate or an old colleague. Follow up the usual hello from your neighbor with a question on how they are doing or what they think about the weather.
Give first and then receive later. Many professionals are used to giving and hardly receiving. One way to stand out easily is to give back to them and be valuable. It could be as little as providing a tip related to something they have mentioned or even linking them up with someone in your network.
You miss 100% of the shots you do not take.Wayne Gretzky
Make the first move. The connection you need is almost always one question away. Make the first move, reach out to them and ask simple open-ended questions. For example, ask about their passions and interests. If you met them at an event, ask why they are at an event, what they have learnt in previous events and what they loved about it. The goal of this is to strike a conversation and listen to them speak without being robotic. This way, you can establish a connection based on shared interests.
Balance the conversation. According to Dale Carnegie, the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, being a good listener and allowing people to talk about themselves will help you win their favor. When networking, avoid talking about yourself and encourage others to talk about themselves. Imagine networking as a tennis match where you talk a little, listen to the other person talk a little and keep it going back and forth.
Attend Various Kinds of Events. Do not restrict yourself to just events within your industry. You can build a connection just anywhere. Be open to attending various physical and digital events within and outside your industry. Attending a wide range of events will open you up to new connections and creativity you might have otherwise missed.
Leverage Social Media and Communities. Social media and online communities have proven to be excellent for networking, mainly because it gives everybody access to each other. Access that you usually would not get. A simple comment can put you on the radar of someone you admire. You can build an expansive network by connecting with others online, communities like book clubs or people you share the same hobbies with.
Don’t get carried away with networking. Just think about how you made your current contacts. You’ll find that you met most of them in different circumstances and bonded over little things. Don’t fret about building friendships immediately. If you are attending an event, genuinely enjoy the event. With time, you’ll be able to build a quality network and friendships.
Stay in touch with your connection. Once you’ve established a new relationship, it’s crucial not to let it die. A few days after meeting a new connection, you can contact them via phone, text, or email to say how much you enjoyed meeting them. Talk about specific things. It’s easier for them to remember that way.
Effective Networking Practices.
- Ask thoughtful open-ended questions that would encourage the other party to talk about themselves.
- Do not try to ask for a job or sell to someone you just meant. It is a major turn off and can hinder the ability to add them to your network.
- Exchange contact information with people you had a good conversation with or people with mutual interests. It’s a more personalized way to connect than the generic business card exchange.
- Wear a sincere smile to appear approachable.
- Commit a few hours in your schedule to network and keep up with your network.
- Don’t go around asking for people to mentor you, rather focus on being valuable to them.
- Introduce people within your network to each other. It positions you as reliable if people know they can find reputable people in your network.
- Respect other people’s views. Not everyone will agree with you or have the same views as you.
It is important to note that not everyone is obligated to stay with you. Be gracious enough to let go of a relationship that doesn’t feel mutual.