Networking Etiquette for Modern Entrepreneurs

"The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity." -Keith Ferrazzi

As an entrepreneur, and business professional, building relationships is key. It is important to invest time and energy into these connections to ensure you create valuable bonds with people you respect. How you present yourself to others plays a significant role in your ability to network with others, and one important aspect is etiquette. So, today, let’s discuss some of our top tips for networking etiquette for modern entrepreneurs. 

Be authentic 

To develop worthwhile, and long-lasting relationships, you must stay true to who you are. People are intuitive and can naturally sense when someone isn’t being authentic. Focus on your strengths, and don’t try to be someone, or something, you aren’t.  

Networking is a marathon, not a sprint, so it is much easier to be yourself when you consider the long game.  

Remember, connecting with others is built on credibility and trust. 

Don’t sell 

Networking should not revolve around making a sale. If you immediately approach someone with this mindset, you are likely going to lose out on making a true connection with them. It takes time and effort to build a relationship that is beneficial to all parties. Therefore, your focus should be on finding out about others, their business, and how you can help meet a need.  

Avoid spending the entire time harping on the products and services you offer. Rather, engage in meaningful conversations, with a focus on the other person. 

Listen more than you talk 

Being an active listener will benefit you greatly when networking. Consider implementing the 80/20 rule into your interactions. As described in an article from Medium, “the 80/20 rule in sales states that one should spend 20% of their meeting talking, and 80% listening.”  

Ask questions that encourage people to share about their own experiences. This will help you gain information, while also demonstrating genuine interest. When you practice active listening while networking, you arm yourself with a better understanding of the needs and wants of others. 

Be respectful 

Respect is a foundational building block of successful networking. When engaging with others, always be respectful and courteous. If you are wishing to join a conversation, enter the group quietly and begin with listening. Don’t barge in and dominate the conversation.  

Use language that is appropriate and inclusive, listen, and avoid interrupting. Steer clear of speaking negatively about others, whether personally or professionally, and focus on building a positive rapport with others. 

It’s also important to not be aggressive in your interactions. People don’t want to be pressured or feel uncomfortable, so be mindful of being pushy or salesy. 

Always follow up 

Never ghost someone you meet at a networking event! Following up in a prompt manner is a critical part to networking. Depending on your interaction with the individual, decide which way to follow up is best. This could be a phone call, email, or private message on LinkedIn.  

Whichever way you choose to reach out, be sure to personalize your message. This shows that you are invested in building the relationship further, value their time, and stay true to your word. 

Being mindful of etiquette in your networking efforts is sure to pay off by creating valuable and lasting relationships, built on mutual respect and trust. 

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