Without a doubt, networking can be an essential skill to grow a business or developing your personal network. Every relationship you make is critical, as former Head of Design at Twitter, Mike Davidson once said:
“It’s all about people. It’s about networking and being nice to people and not burning any bridges. Your book is going to impress, but in the end, it is people that are going to hire you.”
So how then do we network more efficiently? The Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irving offers several tips on networking:
How approachable are you? Do you find yourself easily starting up conversations? Or do you find it difficult to start up conversations with people whom you don’t know?
The reality is not everyone is going to be charismatic. To overcome this barrier, you must keep in mind your nonverbal communication. If you are slouching in your chair, you become less approachable than someone who is sitting up tall and indicates to others that they are more open to conversation.
Embracing All Of Your Relationships:
Every relationship you have can be critical to advancing your career or your business. Avoid burning bridges.
Just because you meet someone in an associate position as opposed to a manager, doesn’t mean that you should blow them off. You never know how that relationship can either benefit or hurt you when looking to advance in your career!
Dress For Success:
Just as it’s necessary to maintain all of the relationships you make, it’s important to make sure you make a good first impression on your new contacts.
Do your research ahead of time and find out what kind of networking event you will be attending. If it is a networking conference, you would want to dress more formally than an informal networking event like a holiday party at your office.
Increase Your Visibility:
Rather than sitting in a corner by the bar, consider venturing over to the food table. Often people are more open to engaging in conversation in this setting. Consider walking around the room and introducing yourself to various groups. The more outgoing you are at these networking events, the more you’ll benefit from having attended them.
Have A Goal In Mind:
Realistically, you aren’t going to have a chance to meet with everyone at the networking events. Therefore, it is important to have specific points you want to get across during your elevator pitch.
Within your elevator pitch be sure to include all of the soft transferable skills such as courtesy, honesty, reliability, flexibility, adaptability. These are all skills potential employers are looking for in their employees, regardless of the unique position. Make sure to keep the elevator pitch short and concise, no more than 60 seconds.
Keep in Touch:
After you make a connection with another person collect their business card. Send them an email reminding them of the conversation you had. Maintain contact with this person; you never know how this relationship might benefit you in the future!
Here at TeamBonding, we offer a program called Nexus. This speed networking event will help you and your employees improve networking skills. A few highlights from this program include:
A human bingo game where you find people that fit criteria on your board
A lanyard with a lock and key attached, and you must locate the individual who has the key to open your lock
A series of puzzle pieces, in which you will need to put together with other people in the room
What strategies do you use to network with other people?