28 Jun Tips on Networking
If you’re in business, building quality relationships is essential to your future.
Growing your relationships with clients can lead to future business and longevity.
Networking among peers can lead to future connections and camaraderie.
Developing great relationships with mentors can provide guidance and wisdom.
Building a network of connections with people from all levels, industries, and backgrounds can prove to be extremely helpful for hiring, job searching, and future career moves.
The bottom line is that if you want to be successful, you must value the importance of networking and get better at building strong connections.
Let’s define networking
By definition, networking means “to connect, link up, interact with people to exchange information, exchange services, and cultivate productive relationships for employment or business.”
The goal of networking is simple: To grow your connection and to build relationships with other people.
This means that networking is NOT something that just happens. It requires effort and intentional exchanges, perhaps even strategy.
Networking also requires the tactic of cultivation and “seed-sowing.” You can’t always build a solid relationship from one interaction, so the idea of gently growing your relationships with little touches over time works best.
Good networking is also not selfish. It’s purposeful to gain ground but it shouldn’t be just about you. Networking should involve just as much giving as it does taking.
What are the benefits of networking?
There are many benefits to networking. Some benefits are more obvious than others, but good networking can have a positive impact in many areas. Through networking you can:
- Uncover new business opportunities.
- Secure advice or help from others in your field.
- Establish a personal brand or reputation.
- Cultivate future employment opportunities.
- Gain a pulse for the current industry practices.
- Develop a healthy group of friends and peers.
- Grow your influence.
How to network
Networking can be a lot like treasure hunting.
You’ll have to have sort of a map or a strategy, you’ll have to eventually start digging, and then once you find your treasure, you’ll have to know what to do with it.
Step 1: The Strategy. It is important that you go to a networking event or party with clear goals. You should have some idea of the ideal people you’d like to meet. Who should you try to introduce yourself to? Who are the most valuable connections in the room? Who can you help in the room? Then once you have your goals in mind, you’ll have to start digging.
Step 2: Start (digging) meeting people. The term “digging” can refer to the art of getting to know people, asking questions, and engaging in conversations. Don’t be nervous. Be calm, cool, collected, and take a genuine interest in others. Ask questions beyond just what they do. Build a personal connection. Remind yourself that digging requires getting out of your comfort zone. It will also require you to mingle and walk around the event. Lastly, practice your elevator pitch for when people ask what you do.
Step 3: Steward the Treasure. If you meet someone who may be helpful, don’t wait too long to get their contact info or business card. Also, don’t forget to give them yours! Be intentional. Remember their name. Then later after the event, make a follow call, send an email, or arrange a future lunch. Continue to build the relationship.
PRO TIP: Once you have their business card, try to write what you talked about and where you met them on the business card. You can then use this info later when you contact them.
The importance of knowing personality types during networking
Once you’ve engaged in conversation, it’s EXTREMELY important for you to try to identify their personality type so you can cater your conversation to fit their behavior and responses. By interacting according to their personality type, you have a much greater chance at creating a successful connection. It will also ensure that won’t come across as invasive to them.
Introverts tend to be listeners, quiet, processors, and laid back.
Extroverts tend to be talkers, louder, doers, and quick to act.
The DISC personality test is also a really effective way to discern your audience. Each letter represents a word that describes a specific personality:
D – Dominance – likes results, the bottom line, confident, and can be blunt.
I – Influence – likes to persuade others, openness, relationships, and is optimistic.
S – Steadiness – likes the calm approach, cooperation, sincerity, and is dependable.
C – Conscientiousness – likes independence, quality, accuracy, and reasoning.
It is also very important to remember that some people many have a hybrid of multiple personality traits.
Where to network
There are many types of opportunities to network and some of the best ways may already be present in your normal life activities. Here are a few examples:
- Your children’s events
- Your Alma mater or alumni groups
- Sporting events
- Professional or business groups
- Church events
- Friends of your friends
- Hobby groups
- Charity events
- Public events
- Parties, open houses, or concerts
- Lunch & Learns
Be sure to research the events ahead of time to know what to wear, where it’s located, and who may be there. Also, don’t forget business cards!
Now that you’ve been given a game-plan to network, it’s time to put this new knowledge to the test!
Remember your goals for networking. Force yourself outside of your comfort zone. Be casual and yet intentional. Read your audience to know their personality type. Be kind. Listen. Stay off your phone. Be encouraging. Be positive. Invite people to engage with you. Invite them for coffee or lunch in the future. And remember that you can be a resource for other people too!
If you found this blog to be helpful, The Rowland Group team would love to present to your office, group, or organization on How to Network in the Tulsa or Houston area. Contact us to schedule your presentation!