Networking refers to the process or action of communicating with other people, companies, and organizations to develop personal or professional contacts. As an entrepreneur, whether you are a member of BNI or not, you have likely had to hone your skills to build successful and meaningful relationships. Let’s discuss a few tips on how to be an amazing networker.
Set clear networking goals
What do you wish to gain from networking? Having specific goals in relation to what you wish to achieve will help you better utilize networking opportunities. Think of your goals as a road map to the end destination. So, whether you are wanting to grow your business, gain knowledge from others, or meet professionals who share your values and interests, knowing what direction you are wanting to go will benefit you.
Build genuine relationships
Networking is about building genuine connections, and not simply about building your contact list. Quality is much more important than quantity, so ensure you are focusing your time and energy on meaningful relationships that are mutually beneficial. It is advantageous to have a core network, who you can rely on, connect with, and cultivate strong bonds with.
You want to make yourself known and allow for opportunities to make meaningful connections. Seek out events that will benefit you and your business. This may include in person, or virtual meeting where you will be able to connect with individuals who have the same values and interests or work in the same or a complimentary industry, where you can discuss possibilities to further build your relationship.
To build meaningful connections, offer valuable knowledge, resources and information that will benefit others. If you can help someone with their own business, offer your help and guidance. Also, be open to the mentorship and advice from others. As business owners, we can learn from one another, and provide value, which will further strengthen your network.
Leverage social media
Social media is an incredibly valuable tool for networking. Be sure you are utilizing platforms such as LinkedIn, which is specific to professional networking. Using these types of online tools will help expand your contacts by connecting with people locally, and from around the world.
Networking takes time and effort, so it’s important to remember that this is a marathon and not a sprint. Don’t expect immediate results and be patient and persistent in your networking efforts. Fostering meaningful relationships doesn’t happen overnight. So, stay the course, and you will be successful.
After connecting with someone, be sure to follow up in a timely manner. While it isn’t expected that you reply or be in contact the second after the event ends, one of the worst things you can do is ghost someone after exchanging information. Be genuine and meaningful in your communication with them and be sure to include something personal about your initial meeting so the person receiving the message feels important and appreciated.
Remember, networking is about building mutually beneficial relationships! Approach it with authenticity, kindness, and a genuine interest in others and you will be sure to build a network of professionals that you can rely on for support and growth.