Knowing How To Network Effectively
In the business world networking is a must. People put a lot of effort into making new contacts, but how many people really know how to do it well? Have you ever gone to a job market and passed out hundreds of business cards? Have you ever pitched yourself to people when you needed a job?
If you have said yes to any of these questions then you're probably not networking as effectively as you could be. Knowing how to network the right way makes the difference between night and day.
Building A Network Of Relationships
You might think that shaking many hands and attending networking events is what it takes to network. This approach only works in part. That's because networking effectively isn't something that you can do overnight or even over a few events.
You should think of networking as a long term process that involves building close working relationships with people in and around your industry. A FastCompany article even goes as far as to say that superficial networking comes off as "swarmy, manipulative, and usually pretty transparent." So keeping this in mind, it's important that you conquer this really useful task the right way. Not sure where to start? Don't worry - we've got you covered.
There are two things you want to keep in mind: Initiating contact and maintaining the relationship.
Where, When, And How
Initiating contact isn't has difficult or as daunting as it may seem. Typically you should start with the people you already know in your business. Using them as starting points to branch out to other people that they know is a great strategy. Since you meet through a co-worker or friend, you can easily establish credibility and be memorable.
What if you don't know too many co-workers and you're just starting out? You can still navigate the terrain just fine, but you have to be confident enough to approach first. Make the effort to spend more time with a few people so you have time to establish a meaningful relationship.
Approaching people you want to make connections with and introducing yourself is your first step to developing a good relationship. From here on out, it's all about maintaining what you've established.
Maintaining The Relationships
Most people make the mistake of casting their net out too wide and trying to meet as many people as possible. The problem with this method is that you spread your time too thin and spend little time making meaningful connections with anyone.
The key is to spend more time nurturing the connections you've already made. Your first step would be to follow up on the connections you already made. Invite people to work related lunches, include them in projects that could benefit them and, most importantly, be an asset to them.
Don't be afraid to show that you are an asset to others. This shows that you're a connection worth keeping and people will actively seek you out to keep you in their contact list. Eventually when you need help or a job, you'll find that you have a large net of people willing to help you out. This brings us to your reputation.
Your Outstanding Reputation
Building a network of people is half the battle of developing a great reputation. Eventually, word of your great attitude and inclusive behavior will spread slowly but exponentially. As people gets to know about you and your skillset you might even find yourself getting job offers from people you haven't yet met. Before you know it you'll be the guy who people seek out for connections and approval. A great step towards becoming a new, better you.