For business both big and small, getting the word out about the company to the world at large is a must in order for the business to succeed. This can be done in a variety of ways, including advertising and marketing, both in traditional ways and online. It can also be done with networking. Networking is very important for companies, because you are not only reaching out to new people to find customers, but you are reaching people with connections in your industry or a related industry, which can be very useful to advancing your company, either by being a customer or recommending you to someone, or even by helping your company to grow. But the key to networking is to do it correctly so that it is successful in helping you. Here are some ways to go about networking successfully.
1. Head start
Get a jump and start networking before you need it. It can’t hurt to make connections ahead of time. Also, networks who have been at it a while can tell when someone is desperate and will try to avoid them. Go into it with no ulterior motives, just wanting to network for networking’s sake, and you will be able to build sturdy relationships.
As with anything important, don’t go into it without a plan of some kind. Know what strengths, skills, etc. you will be able to offer others. Know what you will want to talk about and how you can help others.
3. No personal agenda
Leave any personal agenda you might have at home. Focus on a goal of being open, honest, and friendly and wanting to make connections with people who can help each other. Before you finish a conversation, be sure to ask if there is a way you can help and offer a business card. They may not have an answer right then, but they’ll remember your offer and reach out to you later.
Show a genuine interest. You will be naturally inclined to gravitate towards people in your same field of work. Take an interest in the people you meet and what they are saying. You will learn all sorts of tidbits, not only about what they need but also things that can help you.
Don’t just gravitate to those in your field. Talk with those who may do things differently from you. You may not be useful to them at the moment, but they may need someone with your skills in the future or know someone who can use you.
6. Everyone’s important
Keep the thought in mind that everyone is important. Everyone has some value in them, and it’s your mission to find it. For example, someone who may have a minor job may have valuable connections.
Don’t just make connections between yourself and others. Learn what everyone has to offer, and if one person can help another in the room, introduce them to each other.
8. Follow up
If you promised to get in touch, do so and reiterate your offer of help. If you promised to introduce someone, do so.
Networking can be done online easily enough, but it’s not enough. You need to go out to meet people, too. There are industry networking events and conferences all the time where you can meet people. Also, go to local meetups and events to find people, or host your own meetup.
Above all, believe. Be confident. Believe in yourself and what you can offer people. Also believe in the power of networking and how it can help people, and do your part. If you do, you will see it help you, too.
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