Last Updated on 14th September 2021
By learning how to network, you may expand the number of individuals you know on a professional level and potentially open yourself up to new possibilities. These networking ideas may be useful in improving your ability to build and maintain business relationships.
What do we mean by networking?
In the world of business, networking refers to the activity of connecting with people in order to exchange information, make new professional contacts, and build mutually beneficial partnerships. These connections might be valuable when seeking a new job, developing your skills, or expanding your understanding of the field in which you are working. The chance to meet someone who works in the same field or firm as you is a great opportunity. You might even meet someone who could be your potential reference or customer in the future. By learning how to network professionally, you will be able to build valuable relationships more quickly and easily.
Here are some things to bear in mind when attending a networking event.
#1 Make sure you are prepared
Making sure you are prepared for a networking event. Organize your business card printing, name badges, and any promotional items that you are considering giving out. Take a look at the attendee list and make a note of who you would like to speak to there.
If you find yourself becoming agitated when speaking to others, try practicing what you will say beforehand. Realize how you portray yourself and your skills on LinkedIn, and then consider that networking is the real-world version of that presentation. Your in-person presence should be just as polished and professional as your online presence.
#2 Set yourself goals
A networking event is not a social gathering; rather, you are there to accomplish a specific objective. Set a goal for yourself, such as the number of people you want to talk to or be introduced to, and work toward it. If the group consists of ten or fifteen people, make sure you depart with ten or fifteen business cards.
#3 Do not stick to a rigid agenda
Do not try to clinch a transaction when networking; networking is about creating relationships. You are not there to conduct business; rather, you are there to network with important people. Your only agenda should be a predetermined number of people to speak with, with the goal of obtaining their business cards and maybe doing business with them in the future as your primary objective. As a result, refrain from making any sales pitches or making business proposals.
#4 Be a gracious guest
When attending a networking event, it is critical to behave appropriately as a guest. Make certain that you are not complacent and that you do not sit in a corner by yourself It is the height of bad manners and no one will engage with you. Without putting up the effort to work the room, you will miss out on valuable possibilities. When you talk to others, be pleasant and open, and if you see someone sitting alone, go over and say hello.
#5 Make sure that you are listening as well as talking
You must engage in conversation with others, but you must also pay attention to what they are saying in return. Otherwise, you will not be able to tell whether or not the person you are speaking with and connecting with is the correct one for you.
#6 Make referrals
As a follow-up to the last piece of advice, if you have a feeling that the person you are talking to is not important to your company, but you know of someone else who is at the event who may be of interest to them, you can refer them to that other person. As a result, your contacts will remember you as the person who referred them, which will assist you in building strong commercial relationships.
#7 Ask for two business cards
When attending networking events, there is a lot of exchanging of business cards; therefore, when speaking with someone, request two business cards from them. Do not just take one for yourself; also take one for someone you may know who may be interested in their business, which goes in with the previous idea about sharing information.
#8. Keep track of the time
When attending networking events, it is critical to keep track of the time. Depending on the event, you may have about 30 to 45 minutes to network, and if you have set a goal of talking to ten people, you will only have about three to four minutes with each of those people. Consequently, make excellent use of your time – do not waste half of that time talking to someone you already know or who you met at a previous networking event; instead, spend your time conversing with new individuals.
#9 Make a list of everything
For those of us who struggle to remember things, keeping a pen and paper in our pockets can help. Keeping a written record of who you have met and their area of business, as well as a few facts to help you recall the conversation is recommended if you are meeting ten people in an hour and do not want to forget the finer specifics of your conversations with each of them.
#10 Follow up
The most important thing to remember is to follow up! Keep in touch with your newly created contact the following day and remind them of what your company has to offer in order to evaluate their interest in your company. The entire networking event will be a waste if you do not follow up with your new connections within one to two days of meeting them.
- Make the most of your networking opportunities because it is one of the most valuable actions you can do for your career.
- Prepare for what you want to accomplish and make a plan to get there. Do not spend the majority of your time chatting with the coworkers you arrived with or with people you already know.
- Consider your network outside of the event and the relationships you may refer to others.
- Always make sure to follow up!