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Business networking is a powerful tool for business people to meet relevant people that can help them further their career, whether it is a new job or new clients.
Business networking is the act of interacting and conversing with other people to develop professional contacts and exchange information, usually in the setting of an event or meeting.
Networking helps individuals to establish and nurture long-term and mutually valuable relationships, popular with career-focused professionals.
The aim is usually to expand one’s circle of influence and acquaintances to enhance opportunities to further one’s career – whether it is a new job or promotion or to meet potential future clients, customers or business partners.
Invest time (and a little bit of money) into increasing your networks and relationships – personal and professional, and in the long-run, you will reap the benefits.
How networking increases your professional opportunities and 10 tips to improve your networking
1. Have a plan
2. Find familiar faces
3. Find other people who are alone
4. Remembering names
5. Body language
6. Joining conversations
7. Focus on learning
8. Identify common interests
9. Pay it forward
10. Following Up
TEN TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR NETWORKING SKILLS
Business networking is the act of interacting and conversing with other people to develop
professional contacts and exchange information, usually in the setting of an event or meeting.
Networking helps individuals to establish and nurture long-term and mutually valuable relationships.
The aim is usually to expand one’s circle of influence and acquaintances to enhance opportunities to
further one’s career.
These slides will discuss ten tips you can use to help improve your networking:
HAVE A PLAN
The first thing you can do to improve your networking is to have a plan. Building a network is just like
any other goal you have in life; therefore, you need some sort of plan on how to achieve this goal.
Often people uncomfortable with networking view it as a work activity, which can make it seem
quite loathsome. This mindset will not put you in the right frame of mind for networking. If you link
networking with a higher goal, you will come into it with a much more positive mindset.
Research different networking events and choose options suited to your personality and goals.
If you are feeling uncomfortable and anxious about networking with people you do not know, when
you arrive, look for people you are familiar with and join their group. It might be work colleagues or
people you have met in passing previously. It will help you ease into the networking.
Through talking to the people you know, they are likely to introduce you to people that they know at
the networking event, so it is a soft approach to meeting new people. You will also grow in
confidence and after a while, you will get a feel for the atmosphere and should grow enough courage
to approach other groups.
FIND FAMILIAR FACES
FIND OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE ALONE
If you cannot spot anybody that you know, try and find other people that are there alone. Chances
are that they are feeling just as awkward about not having anyone to talk to as you are! Approach
them in a light-hearted way and ask if they are there alone too, and how it is awkward to not know
anybody there when everyone else seems to know each other. You will probably share a laugh have
an enjoyable conversation. People might even join you when they see you’re having so much fun!
Positioning yourself near the bar is a good spot to capture people to start a conversation. The worst
thing you can do is try and capture people as they walk in. They are probably tired after work, and
the first thing they want to do is grab a drink. They will be far more comfortable and ready to chat if
you approach them if they are drink in hand.
People love to hear their name! It will leave a great impression if you remember their name and
introduce them to someone else by name.
When you meet a person or group of people for the first time, do you forget their names 30 seconds
after the introduction?
Luckily, remembering names can be a learnt skill. Try and attach a visual cue to a unique facial or
body feature of each individual. If it rhymes, that will help even more. You might meet a guy called
Henry or Harry who has a long beard. The visual cue that helps you remember his name could be
POSITIVE BODY LANGUAGE
Body language is crucial at networking events to attracting conversations. Go in with a positive
mindset and smile! If you are uncomfortable, try not to focus on this. Your body language will reflect
you are not confident and people will feel this energy and are unlikely to approach you. Try not to
look serious and instead focus on happy thoughts and be open with your body language. Smile at
anyone who looks in your direction and say hello.
Whilst engaging in conversation, the head tilt is a positive cue you can use to create rapport with the
other person. This body language shows the other person that you are interesting, paying attention
and listening. Everyone likes to be listened to!
One of the most difficult things to do as a networker is trying to enter a conversation already in full
flow. Especially if none of the people in the conversation knows who you are. Confidence is
essential when networking, but do not go in all guns blazing and interrupt a group conversation.
Instead, wait for your moment. It will make a bad first impression if you interrupt the flow of the
conversation. Start by listening and then find a moment where you can add some value. If you can
ask somebody a question, this is a soft way you can enter a conversation.
Listening to others builds them up. A lot of people at networking events love to talk about
themselves. If you are not a confident networker, let other people lead the conversation.
A big benefit of regular networking is the exchange of ideas and knowledge. Even more so when you
have built up trust with people over a period of time and they talk with you more openly. Part of
your mindset when networking should be to learn as much as possible. Focus on learning about
people instead of what you plan to get out of a specific conversation, you will come across in a
If you want to learn something new about someone, your conversation will seem far more authentic
to the other person. You may have an interesting conversation that gives you new ideas leading to
new experiences. Concentrate how networking helps you boost your knowledge and skills to further
FOCUS ON LEARNING
IDENTIFY COMMON INTERESTS
Memorable conversations often begin with a point of common ground. Your kids might go to the
same school or you are members of the same sports club. The sooner you can identify any
similarities you have, the sooner you will build rapport and the easier the conversation will flow.
Consciously think about how your interests and goals align with the people you are meeting. The
easiest way you can do this is by asking questions to find out more about them. The conversation
will feel far less forced and more authentic and meaningful, which will be a lot more memorable
than the previous conversation they had about the weather. They will also appreciate the fact you
tried to get to know them a bit better and might introduce you to others in their network with
Do not make the mistake of looking at networking from the perspective of just to get something out
of it personally. If you look at networking equally as an opportunity to help others, people will
recognise this and be more willing to help you. Introduce your network to each other if you think
they can mutually benefit and look for ways to provide value to people.
The more you learn about your new connections the easier it will be to help them. It could be
anything from a restaurant recommendation to introducing them to someone in your network. A
great networker will know people with skill and expertise in all kinds of areas. If they cannot help
them personally, they will know someone who can. They will both feel grateful toward you for
bringing them together, giving you brownie points.
PAY IT FORWARD
It might sound obvious, but follow up with people your talked with where there was a mutual
interest. You’ll be surprised how many professionals fail to do this. People get busy and you can
quite quickly become forgotten, wasting the hard work you did putting yourself out there. Following
up reaffirms what you discussed, establishes your connection with them and opens future
Within a couple of days, send them an email (assuming you swapped business cards) or connect with
them on LinkedIn with a personalised message, reminding them who you are and your conversation.
Do not follow up too strongly, you do not want to ruin your hard work by coming across as clingy or
Marketing Specialist, BYB MARKETING
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