Networking is important to the potential and growth of your career. The art of effective networking shouldn’t be underestimated. It can directly and indirectly build meaningful relationships, grow your earnings and provide valuable resources — all crucial to a successful, thriving career. According to Small Biz Trends. Here are some tips on how to network like a pro.
Take advantage of networking events, but be selective and strategic. Focus on organisations that you could benefit from and that you could benefit. When you attend events, remember to:
- Be prepared
- Be on time
- Ask questions
- Share you business card with those who request one
- Get business cards from everyone you meet
- Be active
- Don’t sell or pitch anything, just network
Consider joining a referral group. Referral groups are a great resource — for business prospects, information, different perspectives and more — but don’t forget that they are two-sided. If you join, be ready to give. In fact, be ready to give for a while before getting because you’ll need to earn the group members’ trust before they consider referring you to any of their hard-earned contacts. And give well. If nothing pans out for them that originated from you, they might be harder to win over. Once you feel it’s appropriate to ask for something, be prepared and clear. Be very targeted about what you are looking for and what you do so that there are no misunderstandings or disappointments. And always follow up when a referral is provided.
Participate in social networking. Your digital footprint has the potential to last forever, and your online connections say a lot about who you are and what you do. Make sure the people and organisations you like, follow, tweet about and connect with reflect your values and priorities in some way — or at the very least, make sure they don’t embarrass you or undermine your efforts. Remember, you get out of social networking what you put into it. If you use Facebook and Twitter to socialise, that’s probably all it will be good for. But if you integrate it into your marketing plan and use it as a networking tool for your business, it is highly likely to pay you back with contacts, referrals and valuable connections.
Don’t make it always about you. Connecting with people, sharing experiences, exchanging information. Not selling or pitching. Once you have formed a solid connection with someone, you’ll know when the time is right to actually do business. It won’t feel forced, and it will probably happen organically. And remember that networking is just as much about the other guy as it is about you. You won’t get much from someone and you won’t sustain a lasting, fortuitous relationship if it’s always about you. Like any relationship, there has to be a healthy balance of give and take.
Be approachable. Whenever you network, remember to be yourself, be approachable and be real. People do business with people they trust.
We hope you’ve found the above five tips helpful as you set out to network with other professionals in your field. Earning your degree is a great way to meet others in your field and grow your career. As a Coventry University College Online (CUC Online) student, your growth and success – academically, professionally and personally – are our focus. Study at an accelerated, full-time or part-time basis. 100% of the teaching takes place online. Graduate with the academic knowledge and vocation skills today’s employers want you to know. Below are the programmes we offer online: