What’s the key to a dynamic career and business success? The answer is solid, networking. Be it online networking or face-to-face one, you have so much opportunity to widen your professional network. When it comes to networking, quality is indeed more important than quality, but you still need to start from somewhere, right?
To know people, you must first know yourself. That being said, you should be aware of which networking approach best matches your personality. Different people may have different approaches in understanding other people and determining how to communicate with them. If you are an extrovert, you may not find it too difficult to initiate a conversation with an influential figure you meet in a seminar. Meanwhile, if you are more reserved, online networking may suit you better, as it requires no face-to-face communication that can be daunting for introverts.
If you are the type of person who likes attending events like seminars, gathering, community meet-ups, and similar ones, face-to-face networking could work like magic! If this interests you, you can arrange to attend social events that relate to your career projection once or twice a month. As soon as you arrive at the event, resist leaning toward people you already know, because the purpose of attending is to meet new people and learn new things. Staying and talking to the same people you know may prevent you from broadening your network. You should keep track of important details such as where you meet new people and the kind of businesses they represent so you can contact them if needed. Networking events should provide you with more information not just about the individuals there, but also about how to develop your career.
Make an effort to repeat their name at least three times throughout a conversation with new acquaintances. People appreciate it when you mention their names since it shows your interest and genuine desire to get to know them better. Not to mention, this will help you recall their names when the talk is over. Maintain as much genuinity as possible throughout the conversation. This indicates that you should listen closely while also asking questions. By asking questions, you express your interest in keeping further conversation. However, keep in mind that asking personal inquiries about family or personal ties during a business setting will make you appear unprofessional.
Mind your body language
Besides what is said, you need to pay attention to your body language and attitude. Sometimes, body language speaks louder than words. Do not join a discussion that already has three or four individuals since they each have their own themes and there is a good possibility you will be a passive listener. You should not interrupt two individuals who are conversing since they may be having an important conversation. All in all, it is preferable to approach someone who is alone. When you talk to someone, make sure you look them in the eyes and show them your undivided attention. However, instead of making it a stare-down contest, take some time to create eye contact, then glance away quickly before returning to them.
Networking through Social Media
With technology advancement and COVID-19 influencing how people engage with others, professional networking has almost entirely moved to the digital world. This is perfect if you are an introvert, as online networking allows you to broaden your horizons by giving you access to more people and possibilities on a worldwide scale while you sit back at home. LinkedIn is the obvious first choice since it is the largest professional networking site, with over 740 million members across industries. Social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram are excellent places to build a network too. Twitter, for example, is ideal for sharing your skills and initiating interactions with other professionals, whereas Instagram is ideal for creatives who want to showcase their work.
Make sure your digital profiles are engaging before you begin networking with others online. If you use Linkedin, for example, write an enticing summary and fill out the prior experience area. Remember to highlight your most significant accomplishments since they will help you receive the finest prospects in the future. The goal is to ensure that your connections are relevant; add individuals who are relevant to your work and sector and with whom you see yourself collaborating in the future.
When engaging with other professionals on social media, identify yourself and explain why you want to connect with them. Message them something like, “I’ve been following your work since I have interests in the same industry as yours” along with your connection request. Be the kind of person you want to connect with and follow. Try not to over-promote yourself or your business, and don’t overwhelm them with one-of-a-kind promotions. Instead, show genuine interest in others by asking questions and letting them know if you can be of any help. After all, people are looking for meaningful interactions and content that matches their views and values.
Finally, either on in-person networking or an online one, the last thing you should do after coming from a networking event is that you should try to reach out to the person you were talking with again. Typically, you have about 48 hours to get in touch with them after the meeting before they completely forget about you. The sooner you begin networking and the more time you devote to making genuine connections, the better your outcomes will be – whatever your objectives are. Good luck!