You may be familiar with the adage ‘it’s who you know, not what you know.’ When it comes to career advancement and landing jobs, knowing how to network is essential. People do business with people they know, like, and trust.
Your professional networking can open doors to incredible opportunities no matter what industry you work in. It has been said that as many as 85 percent of jobs are never advertised, as opposed to being circulated among professional networks. Networking can assist you in uncovering these hidden possibilities.
You may very well secure a job referral or bolster your skills by attending events with people in your industry or field. Networking has the potential to put you into contact with people who could be instrumental in helping you get ahead in your profession.
There are a variety of ways to network in person and online. Here are 10 Effective Networking Tips.
1) Prepare Your “Elevator Speech”
In an elevator speech, you have 30 seconds to introduce yourself and convey a couple of key points to make a connection with someone. It is known as an elevator speech because it takes approximately the same amount of time you typically spend in an elevator with someone.
You might include your job title, the company you work for, and relevant facts about your job or company. The goal is to deliver a succinct personal introduction that highlights your most important skills and accomplishments. You also may want to offer a way to stay connected with that individual you just met if you believe that person could help your career.
2) Present Yourself Well
When you meet someone who you think may offer value as a networking contact, be sure to stand up straight, have a confident demeanor, and present yourself in a professional way. Use a firm handshake, and always make eye contact.
*Remember to have your business card handy and any portfolio assets you want to leave off with this person.
3) Ask Questions & Listen
When meeting someone, engage them in a conversation. You want a natural flow to the way you are communicating with a networking contact. Pose open-ended questions that give you an opportunity to build on the answers. Keep in mind that networking is all about forming relationships, not merely making contacts.
People will want to know that you have been listening to their story and that you appreciate their time. This encounter should be about mutual appreciation that gives value to both people.
4) Exchange Stories
Approach a networking opportunity with the idea that you have as much value to add as the other person. You are more than just the professional summary on your resume. Learning the art of networking involves talking about your unique value.
Consider how you stand out from other professionals in your industry. What do you do better than others?
Then focus on the other individual as you pose questions to the person you are meeting with. Be genuinely interested in that individual’s story. Ask her questions and listen attentively to her comments.
5) Offer Solutions to Other People’s Problems
Keep in mind that you bring value to the networking encounter you’re having. This means that as you establish a business relationship with someone, feel free to present a solution to their problem. If the person shares a particular challenge he is having, attempt to respond.
You want to offer some information or an anecdote that helps that person resolve their problem. Make a point of getting back to that person no later than the next day, if possible.
6) Ask for Assistance
There is a good chance that the person you are networking with has experienced a similar quandary as you might be having. Seek input from your networking contact. This conveys that you respect their opinion and view them as a good source of information.
7) Leverage Your Online Presence
This is especially important if you are looking for work. Making connections online is a very effective networking strategy, as it is an excellent method for discovering opportunities in your chosen profession. You can also connect with people in professional associations.
You’ll want to utilize LinkedIn, Twitter, as well as blogs, and other social media channels to stay abreast of the latest news in your industry and learn about job opportunities.
8) Set Yourself Up for Future Contacts
If you surmise that this new contact you are meeting with offers value, then build a bridge to your next meeting before you both part ways. Inquire with that individual what they are working on at that particular time. This can enable you to lay the groundwork for your next get-together.
Ensure that you will be able to offer valuable information for your next meeting by taking notes on what you both discussed. This demonstrates to that other person that you have taken a genuine interest in him and his story.
9) Be Positive
A positive outlook is an important networking skill. People are naturally drawn to upbeat, friendly individuals. Additionally, you will find that a positive attitude and confidence typically go together. People you meet in your networking journey will interpret your positivity as confidence in your market potential.
Being positive has its advantages when it comes to building up your networking potential. For example, when you respond to a negative situation with a positive, upbeat outlook, the other person you are meeting with will have more confidence in your skills and be more likely to want to work with you.
Remember, positivity makes you more likable and more memorable.
10) Attend Networking Events
An ideal way to improve your networking skills is to show up at networking events, both in person and virtual ones. Have as your goal forming genuine connections with people you encounter.
It’s not necessarily a numbers game at these networking events. Quality matters more than quantity. It’s better to make a strong connection with 15 people who are in a position to benefit your career rather than having superficial encounters with 50 individuals.
Advance Your Networking at Burbity Workspaces Events
We invite you to further your networking goals by attending Burbity networking events where you can meet other professionals like you who want to advance in their fields. You will come away with practical tools that will enable you to improve your networking skills and build valuable contacts.
Our Burbity monthly networking events will also empower you with the know how to excel at your job and take advantage of growth opportunities in your profession.