Today we are going to give you some tips for effective business networking. In today’s world, it is a fundamental strategy for your professional development. It is about creating a network of contacts with people who have similar interests to yours, in order to learn, exchange, and discover work and business opportunities that can enhance your job profile.
Networking is built progressively, and you can do it through social networks, especially those aimed at the professional market, such as LinkedIn; and also in meetings, events, clubs, and associations representative of your activity. You can do it both virtually and in person, and even through third parties who introduce you to the right people.
It is necessary to be persistent and you should try alternative ways to establish your own environment that you will count on from that day on.
How to create a network of professional contacts?
It will be necessary:
- To know your market very well and the market you want to target,
- To have clear goals,
- To have a solid and consistent professional profile,
- To have your personal brand established,
- To do some researching and investigating beforehand and constantly,
- And a value offer (what you have to deliver to the network) interesting and different from what already exists.
Advantages of having a wide network
You can start with the contacts you already have, for example, your fellow students, professional colleagues you worked with, former employers, your neighbors, and acquaintances in general that are aligned with your profile.
There is a belief that networking is all about selling and making a profit for yourself: nothing could be further from the truth. It is even counterproductive to want to sell immediately, without giving the other person the opportunity to discover something interesting in your professional profile. Remember that the goal of networking is to empower each other.
If you are still hesitating, check these five aspects to see if they interest you:
- Increases the visibility of your personal brand, ventures, and companies.
- It opens up opportunities that you would not otherwise know about.
- Helps you think differently, observing where trends are going.
- Boosts your communication and empathy skills.
- Helps you obtain valuable information from different sources to later process and create your own models that increase competitiveness in your segment.
Golden tips for effective business networking
- Give to receive: It is necessary to be clear about what you are going to contribute to others, through fostering the relationship for a long time. People and companies are willing to open doors to those who have earned their trust.
- Add value: This point is key, because all networking is based on a genuine interest on your part to relate, and the other to establish links. Always start by finding out what others need, and don’t be anxious to sell or get something before showing your worth.
- Define your segment: As you may have noticed, you need to connect internally with your meaning and purpose beforehand so as to not divert your networking efforts. Getting to know people means taking an interest in them and helping them achieve their goals: this tactic is practically irresistible so that they will then pay attention to you and even help or advise you.
- Target audience: Not everyone will be a target audience, as we call it in communication. Take advantage of your differentials to network with those who know how to appreciate it. You need to design different strategies for each person. For example, it is not the same to network with the manager of a company as with the members of the board of directors of a professional association, or with head hunters.
- Take the initiative: It is about generating a living network, in permanent transformation. My suggestion is that you start by making 5 new contacts per week in person or virtually, and 5 more per day through social networks, always in a personalized way. All this for a year in a row, and then evaluate the results.
- Respect personal space: Don’t invade others; instead, try to integrate naturally. Remember that insistence is not the same as persistence, and that is precisely the quality you must develop. Also, train yourself to take “no” for an answer.
- Be transparent: When creating your network of contacts it is necessary that your honesty and good intentions are always present, even though others may not behave that way with you. For this, establish clear rules; for example, if you want to make a commercial offer, ask first.
- Agility: As I mentioned earlier, networking is a process that takes time. Once it gets going, interactions are quick and agile. To give it a boost, you can learn to spot opportunities to create a sense of need, arouse curiosity, deliver information, invite, share.
- Train yourself: You can work with concept maps to organize your ideas and how to share them with others. I also suggest that you develop different strategies and presentation materials, which should be updated and available. The goal is to conquer a space in that immense world of your professional network, and stand out for your merits, solvency and differentials.
- Relationships: Human quality is essential, because you cannot network being a bad person. Make sure that your links are lasting, by generating honest relationships. Authenticity, which is the opposite of creating a persona of your professional role, is the internal value that can help you make lasting relationships.
By following these steps you will be able to establish a network of quality professional contacts that will enhance your skills and qualities, and you will be able to more effectively achieve your goals based on your qualities, persistence and determination.