Be the go-to person in the room
Networking doesn’t come naturally to many people – just those lucky few – and for most people, it takes courage, willing and practice. To make it easier, we’ve put together a list of our top 5 networking tips for skills you can make habitual, which we hope will help you to make the most out of your networking meetings!
All of these skills can be learned and practiced, so don’t panic if you don’t feel very confident in all these areas at the moment.
Here at the DARWIN.vip Academy, we believe there’s always room for personal growth, so even if you think you’ve got one of these skills nailed, see if you can get even better at it!
This is easier said than done – so many people end up falling into some kind of fake persona while networking. It’s not that they are trying to deceive, it’s that they put on a front, often not even meaning to. To make networking smoother sailing from now on, why don’t you make a conscious effort to really be your authentic self and to remain genuine throughout your time at meetings and events? You’ll no doubt see a change in how receptive people are!
This tip can be applied when talking to a new contact – rather than jumping straight into business talk, why not have a general conversation with them about life first? After all, they’re a person and you need to build a relationship with them, rather than plainly using them as a stepping stone to success.
Our second piece of advice in our top 5 networking tips sounds simpler than it is – it’s so easy to talk about ourselves, especially when we’re feeling nervous, as it’s comfortable, familiar territory. It saves awkward silences! But if we don’t stop, take a breath and ask our fellow networkers about themselves, it can come across as if we don’t care about them or what they do.
Whoever you decide to speak to at your next networking event, ask them questions about themselves, their business or anything else you can think of – just make sure the conversation isn’t all about you. It’s important to be genuine here, too, as you don’t want it to come across as though you’re only asking questions as a tick-box exercise. You need to show that you really care about what it is they’re saying, because you do!
Be open to learning
You have the opportunity to meet a wide variety of people when you get involved in business networking. Business owners often have great stories, opinions and even life lessons, so in addition to listening as we’ve said above, you have to be open to learning, too.
If you take on feedback expert advice and use it to improve, you’ll be able to get even more out of networking. Isn’t that the goal?
Stay in touch
It’s a skill to be organised, and the more organised you are, the more likely you are to book follow-up meetings in with people you connect with. Just as with personal relationships, relationships you make with contacts while business networking require effort and reciprocation, so you can’t leave it all up to the other person to get a 1-2-1 arranged. And by the same token, it shouldn’t all be on your shoulders.
If you think someone has the potential to be particularly valuable to your business and doesn’t seem to be interested in reciprocating your efforts to arrange a meet-up, you have to make a decision – should you stay in touch, knowing it’ll all be on you, or do you take the view that it’s not worth the time and effort? In such an instance, you have to make a call based on that person and what value you believe they could bring to you and your business.
Staying in touch with people may seem like a tedious task, but checking in every now and then with important business contacts will help you to nurture those relationships, and will eventually pay dividends.
Number five in our top 5 networking tips is to never take an opportunity for granted, and always make sure your contacts know how much you value their time. By practicing gratitude, you’ll be more likely to put effort into investing time into your relationships made at networking groups, which will ultimately contribute to business growth.
There you have it, our top 5 networking tips
What are you waiting for? Get practicing these five must-have skills for business networking, and see how much better you come across at your next event.
If you need any more advice in addition to our top 5 networking tips, take a look at our range of free guides available for download – whether you’re new to networking or very experienced, we’d love to help you on your business networking journey.