Networking effectively can be beneficial if you’re looking for a job, starting a business or trying to attract new clientele for an existing business. It’s important to get the most out of your networking efforts and make people react to you in the right way.
Here are 8 steps toward learning how to network effectively to meet the right people and grow your social or business circle.
1. Outline your goals.
Know the goals you want to achieve by networking to help you network effectively and stay focused. If your mission is to increase public awareness of your business, or meet other professionals in your field, focus on this as your goal. Attend functions and bring materials that will be helpful in making this happen.
2. Be professional and polite.
Networking effectively is all about making a good first impression so people will want to stay in contact with you. Dress well, look sharp and conduct yourself respectfully. Avoid drinking too much or discussing risqué or offensive topics. Present yourself as someone appealing and worth getting to know.
3. Network online.
Many social networking sites that are used to communicate with friends and loved ones can also be effective networking tools for businesses and employment options. Research business networking programs used by some online networking web sites and add your profile to ones that are beneficial to your networking goals.
4. Join professional organizations.
Professional organizations related to your business or field of employment can offer great networking opportunities. Join a professional organization or the alumni organization from your college and attend social functions that will allow you to network with people in related fields or businesses.
5. Attend community functions.
Community functions like job fairs and local festivals can be a great way to meet people and get your name, or the name of your business, recognized by the community. Attend local functions and shake hands with as many people as possible.
6. Go prepared.
Be prepared when you network by bringing resumes, business cards and a cell phone when you attend functions and meetings. This will enable you to leave your contact information with potential business contacts and leave them with a reminder of meeting you, or take names and phone numbers of people you meet.
7. Extend yourself.
Remember that no business contact is too small and every networking opportunity is a chance to meet new people and be known, so extend yourself and meet everyone you can. Introduce yourself to as many people as possible and get to know your contacts so you maintain a connection with them for next time.
8. Remember one thing.
Try to remember one detail or topic that you discuss with each new person you meet. This will give you something to talk about the next time you see them to help establish a familiar connection.
These 8 Steps originally appeared on Wikihow.com
- Richard Branson on How to Network. Hint: Early and Often (entrepreneur.com)
- Proactive Networking (activeadvisorsminute.com)
- 5 Actions of Power Networkers (inc.com)