It is no secret that the best jobs in any industry are found through networking. As such, learning to craft and hone your networking skills can pay huge dividends down the road.
Effective networking is not about quantity. It is about the process of cultivating long-term business and personal relationships, born out of genuine connections and friendships.
Here are 5 tips to help you succeed at the networking game.
TURN ON YOUR LISTENING EARS
Although it is tempting to use your face time with somebody to primarily sell yourself, it is even more important to turn on your ears and be an active listener. By focusing on the other people in the room, you will be regarded as the most perceptive and engaged person of the group. The fool says what he knows, the wise man listens to what he doesn’t know.
Related to developing listening skills, asking questions is an ideal way to draw people into your presence. Ask the questions first and then listen to learn. By following this practice, you will be able to discern what you can offer that person.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO GET PERSONAL
Before delving into the business talk, it is important to develop a personal connection. Share something unique about yourself that people will be likely to remember even when they leave the event. This openness will also encourage people to reciprocate, cultivating a lasting connection and further business opportunities down the road.
EXPAND YOUR CIRCLE
When trying to increase your reach, it is vitally important that you step outside of your normal comfort zone and approach people with different interests and background. Although it is natural to be drawn toward people that are similar to you, now is the time to step outside of your box and into unfamiliar territory. Don’t be the person who just socializes within their usual sphere of contacts.
This last tip is crucial. It is imperative to keep the lines of communication open after the initial meeting. The myriad of social networking resources available in today’s business world makes staying connected incredibly easy to do. By continuing to stay in contact, you are sending the signal that you are open to new experiences and opportunities and that you are interested in what other people have to say and to offer.