Networking is one of the most important aspects of any business or organization and thus, doing it the right
way becomes a top priority. When done correctly, networking opens doors to various meaningful connections
that help you and your brand grow and prosper. It is the apt investment of time and efforts in connecting with new people and new ideas.
When we come across the word networking, our mind immediately conjures images of fake smiles and forced conversations in a place where we don’t really want to be. This mental perception itself becomes our biggest roadblock in the vast opportunities that networking offers- to tell you the truth, it’s not even half as bad as you may think it is. The only challenge on your part is to overcome this fear and learn from the subtle mistakes that we all make while networking with other people.
Put your worries to rest as we help you find out 6 errors in your networking and how you can rectify them to your advantage:
Attending Networking Events on Your Own Gives You a Fright
One of the initial steps of networking is to attend events especially meant for connecting with people. But what can you do if you’re afraid of attending them alone? Simply go prepared. Before you attend the event, decide how you’re going to present yourself and get to know the people you’d be seeing there. Figure out who are the people you would like to talk to. This small prep session gives you the confidence to attend these events by yourself and connect with people easily.
You’re not Focusing on Your Personal Brand
The importance of building your personal brand plays a major role while networking with people. Once you’ve held a conversation with them, they are definitely going to look you up online. Your personal brand communicates to them various aspects about you and your brand and the best way to expand your network is to create a personal brand that is unique and informative.
You’re Probably Meeting Lesser People Than You Should
This goes out to all those who feel shy or less confident to approach new people at a networking event. In a month, meeting at least two or three new individuals who can help you connect in your industry, can take your brand and confidence to a whole new level. Approach them first, get to know them and let them know what you’re interested in. When you are confident and sure about how you present yourself, the possibility of new opportunities clicking is high.
Not Following Up People After You’ve Met Them
After meeting and networking with people face to face, the next and necessary step is to follow them up. Keep your word of mailing them some particular article and read the content posted by the individual. This initiates a basic communication and your credibility also increases. People would love to keep in touch with you if you follow them up after you’ve met them or else they’ll feel dismissed and may not connect with you thereafter.
Taking Up Too Much Time of Others
The best way to avoid unconsciously monopolizing someone’s time at a networking event is to decide a fixed time span- say 10 minutes- after which you must slip your business card and move on. Remember, everyone is there to meet more new people, just like you are. Unless you find an individual who is genuinely interested in an engaging conversation, follow the ten-minute rule and network with more people at the event.
Not Saying Thank You
It is one of the most common yet overlooked errors of the networking world. Saying ‘thank you’ is courteous-
make sure you thank people for giving you their time, or holding an informative conversation which gave you
a new outlook towards your brand or organization.
We hope that implementing these solutions helps you overcome the hindrances in networking and helps you to connect with more people in a better way. Always remember, networking is a healthy and continuous process that can grow your business by linking you with the right-minded and like-minded people in your industry.
Serious about networking
Check out this video by Marie Forleo you'll get 8 actionable tips you can start testing out right away to build meaningful relationships
Here are some ideas for networking the RIGHT way:
- Focus on giving vs. getting
- Be present
- Listen more than you talk
- Think long term vs. short term
- Don't over commit or feel guilty
- Be honest
- Take action immediately
- Only go to things that excite you
Here are 8 simple networking tips to meeting new people very authentically without feeling fake
- Focus on giving vs. getting:
So how can you serve or help someone out? Maybe you’ve got a great book recommendation, or you know someone that that person should meet. The thing is with networking, what YOU have to give may have nothing to do with you or your business - and that’s OK. The whole focus is give,
- Be present:
Focus on the person you are talking to. Don’t talk just for the sake of it, give them your attention and mindspace. Incase you want to meet someone else make a polite excuse and let the person know you will be back in sometime. Talking to one person with attention on someone else is disrespectful.
- Listen more than you talk:
As the saying goes, we have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak. Remember, the most interesting people to talk to are the ones that really want to know about us!
- Think long term vs. short term:
Real relationships build gradually over time. So when you First meet somebody, don’t rush or push your agenda on them. You wanna just chill and be a little relaxed. You could say something like, “You know, that’s really interesting. I’ve got a question about your industry that I’d love to know about...” and then ask them a question that opens up a genuine dialog.
- Do not over commit or feel guilty:
Look, if you start going to a ton of conferences and networking events, you’re gonna meet a LOT of people. It’s ne not to “stay in touch” with everybody. It’s ok to meet people and say hi and all that jazz, but you do not have to make a commitment to speak to them again or to stay in touch.
- Be honest:
Don’t make false promises or agree to do things just to be “nice” because you’re there with someone in person. So if someone wants to go to coffee with you for instance and you don’t want to do it, don’t say, “Oh sure, we should do that sometime.” Instead, you wanna say this. “I really appreciate the offer, but my work schedule is full and I don’t want to promise anything that’s not going to happen.”
- Take action immediately:
If you do agree to do something for someone, take action right away. So if you’re gonna make an email intro, just whip out your smartphone and get it done on the spot vs. waiting till you get home. Taking action right away is an awesome habit to build PLUS you won’t just pile up work to do for yourself when you get home.
- Only go to things that excite you:
Whether it’s parties, conferences, or even coffee dates - only say yes to the things that you really want to do. The best business connections I’ve ever made are friendships. So when you go to these things, go to make friends. By all means, of course you’ve gotta tell people what you do for a living, but that should not be your number one goal. Your number one goal is just to connect and make friends. Otherwise, you will come across as fakey-pants.
Hope this helps in your next networking event.
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