Networking is Crucial
In the world of business, networking is crucial. Whatever your motives – increasing sales, creating business opportunities, career development, building relationships, developing support networks, internal politics etc, good business networking skills are vital for serious business professionals looking for maximum reach, profile and influence. Here are five of the top traits of highly effective networkers:
1. Network Strategically. Time is precious. It’s a finite resource. Network where you will have the most impact. Decide who you want to be known by; who you want to get on the radar of. Decide what you want your network to look like. Then cast your net where those fish are swimming. There are at least eight different strategies to network depending on your goals. Network on purpose!
2. Ask Good Questions. Good networkers are good conversationalists. They are especially good listeners and to do that, you often need good questions. You need to open people up and give them a safe platform to share their pain, problems, projects and plans. Only then can you help, sympathise, resource, connect and even sell to. How could you raise your game with the level and quality of questions you ask people in networking situations?
3. Give Good Answers. If you want to network productively and effectively, you need to take your chances. You might just meet people once. You’ve got to make an impact. You know that you’re going to get asked ‘what do you do?’ You know you’ll be asked ‘how’s business?’ or ‘how are things going?’ These are great opportunities for you to open a door and create a memorable impression. The great networkers do this with prepared answers, stories, examples and ‘ethical bragging’ that gets them remembered.
4. Make the First Move. Great networkers are very proactive. They reach out to people. They connect people. They go up to people and introduce themselves. They extend invitations and requests. You don’t need to be an extrovert to do this. A simple ‘hello’ has worked wonders for centuries. Networks are built. They don’t just happen. Who is out there needing to meet you, but not yet knowing who you are? Remember a stranger is just somebody you’ve not yet met!
5. Follow Through. Great networkers stay connected and keep in touch. They are organised, diligent, consistent and productive with time. They use mobile and online technology to manage a huge number of contacts. They constantly seek ways to add value and stay ‘front of mind’ with key contacts. If you want to be great, you’ve got to do the same.