Regardless of your industry, networking will become one of the most important tasks you will do each and every single day. Networking, but definition is a socio-economic business activity by which groups of like-minded businesspeople recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities. To put it in layman terms, it is simply a way for you to connect with a variety of different people from the either the same or different industry or field. While this type of work does take time, the benefits are exponential.
When you are expanding your network, you will often find that this is a very behind the scenes type of task. Connecting with people through a variety of business ventures or events allows you to bridge relationships for you to leverage individually or as a company as a whole. In reality, you never know where these connections can lead you. The best thing to do is to continue creating stronger relationships because at the end of the day, you never know where these connections can take you.
So how does it work? How do you network with professionals? What are the best ways to network for partners, sponsors, and collaborators?
There are a variety of ways to go about this. The most important thing you need to know is that you have to go into each meeting or event to establish that partnership or service. It is that shark-like mentality that will benefit your endeavors and push your professional profile to where it needs to be.
Connect with Your Field or Niche
Networking through a specific field or niche is one of your strongest connections you can immediately make. Whether you do this through LinkedIn, in-person, Facebook, your alma mater events, or through various interest groups, connecting with individuals who have already established themselves in the field can benefit you greatly. The best possible thing you can do in those situations is to ask and share interest. If you are a novice in the field and would like to know more about how to further develop your skills and abilities, be sure to ask questions and pick those experts advice. If, however, you are an expert in the field, establish a connection for future potential partnerships or mentorships. At the end of the day, these connections are something that can be leveraged in the most meaningful way.
Connect Through Mutual Friends or Partners
Especially if you are seeking professional advice, finding those second connections that you can quickly contact can be a huge benefit on your end. Connecting through mutual friends is probably one of the easiest networking you can do for your professional career and business. Having that automatic channel to make that interaction is something you need to leverage and utilize if it is there. Keep in mind that the person you are talking to is still a stranger to you and your business. Make sure that when you talk to them, you are professional and considerate. Provide them a deeper understanding of your objectives, goals, and questions they can assist you with.
Be Goal Oriented
The best networkers are not those with the best profiles. Rather they are the individuals who are incredibly confident, personable, and driven for each and every interaction. When you go into a meeting or an event, be aware of the people around you. Know their backgrounds, histories, and your own personal goals. See how you can translate your goals in the best possible way. If your goal is to gain more information about a specific field, make sure you are walking into that event with that goal in mind. If you are looking to expand sales or create a team, know how to approach individuals and provide a group with the overall facts and logistics of your company. Remember, each conversation is an opportunity. Make the best of it. Do not think of this as a simple meet and greet. Leverage your ideas throughout the conversation by educating and promoting your services and background. Then follow up with how they can attribute to that success.
Be the Showman
Much of networking starts with your personality. At the end of the day, your goal is to be memorable. No matter who you are or what you do, achieving that goal will be a huge win. So how do you do it? How can you be memorable? The best way to be memorable starts off with confidence. It is incredibly difficult to work with an individual who is timid or shy. When you talk to people, be confident in every which way. Make sure you body language represents that too. In addition, be knowledgeable. Knowing yourself, your goals, your visions, your strengths, your weaknesses, and your contribution to your organizations and companies is something people want to hear. Show them that you are an asset. Last but not least, be personable. Make sure you are listening to what they are saying and connect and respond to it.