Some tips on effective networking
October 25, 2011
What is networking? Why is it so important? How does one effectively network? In essence, networking is less a conscious project than an ongoing habit. Effective networking means establishing relationships with individuals, regardless of an immediate benefit. In that sense, networking is a long-term process, one that shows its advantage further down the road.
"When you network you are going to meet a lot of people," explains Diane Helbig for Small Business Trends. "You aren't going to develop relationships with all of them. You'll find that the people who resonate with you will be the ones you will naturally stay with. Go with it. Trying to create connections with people who you don't feel a connection to is like continuing to date someone you have no interest in."
Accordingly, some people are more successful at networking than others, even though the traits required to successfully make connections are eminently obtainable. If you're worried that you're too shy, disconnected, anti-social or some other networking antithesis, don't be. You too can reap the benefits of a networking - whether you're searching for a new job, selling a product, managing a business, developing a marketing plan or thinking of the future.
First of all, you need to relax. Top networkers are not consumed with maximizing their potential at a networking event. They aren't there to distribute as many business cards as possible. They are themselves, and they are focused on having meaningful conversations.
"Their attention is always on the other person, discovering who they are and what they need," Helbig explains. "Great networkers are always open to how they can help someone else."
Finally, despite your calm demeanor, you need to be engaged. Don't sit alone or wait for someone to approach, and don't interact with people you already know. There is no magic formula for success, Helbig points out, so don't feel the need to follow certain rules. You need to be yourself and accept that the connections that will help you in the long-run will be those who are intrigued by your natural and professional skills in the first place.
"Build those relationships for your future success," Helbig says, "and you'll enjoy the long-term impact of networking."