Networking is all about making connections and establishing relationships that can then turn into sales opportunities. So, the more people you meet, invest time in getting to know them, and make an effort to build a solid relationship with them, the more opportunities you create for your business.
So, in order to make the most out of any networking opportunities you encounter in your career, it is important that you improve your networking skills.
Here are a few pointers to help you out:
1. Be Prepared
Instead of practicing a full elevator pitch that will probably come out as robotic or unnatural, it is best to be prepared to answer two basic questions:
- What do you do?
- Why does it matter?
The best answers are concise and to the point. Doing this will ensure that you have the perfect introduction and will hopefully make people interested in knowing more specific details.
2. Be comfortable using many platforms
The covid-19 pandemic shifted most networking opportunities to the digital world, at least for a few more months. And not only that but building relationships has come to rely on many different platforms other than talking on the phone or sending follow up emails. Now you have to at least be comfortable with posting on your contact’s social media accounts, sending them direct messages, getting on a video chat, sending them a text message, and a long list of other ways to communicate that you have to be able to use to your advantage when growing your network.
3. Master small talk
Small talk plays an important role in the initial stages of a relationship, so don’t shy away from it and don’t try to skip this step. Once a relationship is more mature, you can choose to not engage in small talk, but when you are looking to expand your network small talk can be a fantastic tool. So be sure to use this skill to make subtle connections with people you’ve never spoken with before.
4. Have a normal conversation
In the same way that you know when somebody is trying to sell you something, you know when somebody is just trying to network with you. These types think that networking means something else than just having conversations with others, and so they go around just spewing a barrage of business buzzwords in the most unnatural way possible.
Instead try to have a normal conversation with whoever you find interesting at the event, and you will get better results.
5. Listen more than you talk
If you want to have a great conversation with somebody, and if you are trying to network then that should be a goal for you, you need to listen more than you talk. People love to talk about the things they are into and so give them the opportunity to do just that by asking great questions about them. Show them you can really listen, and they will join your network in no time.
6. Follow up
Make sure to send a personalized message, call, hop on a quick video call, shout them out on twitter, or whatever you feel is the best way to follow up with them. This way they will know how to keep that connection with you going strong. Additionally, send them a request to connect on LinkedIn