How to get the most from networking

Practical networking tips that will help you get more business

In today’s blog post, I’ll give you a quick and simple framework that you can use to get the most out of your networking. And who knows, maybe it’ll even help you in your day-to-day life as well!

But before we dive right into it, I’d like to take a moment and address the shy introverts among you. Because I’m almost 100% certain that as soon as this article goes live, I’ll receive at least a dozen emails from people, using their “shyness” as an excuse.

“But I’m shy … Can’t I be a businessperson without networking?”

While it is most certainly possible to run a business without having the support and opportunities that a robust network of contacts provides, you are definitely going to be worse off for it. If you happen to be an introvert, or if you just don’t like hanging out with people for one reason or another, I suggest that you work on yourself, rather than settle for less or ignore networking altogether. Shy business leaders will have a much harder time growing their business — this is just a fact of life. As the saying goes — You miss every shot you don’t take!

You’ve already breached the borders of your comfort zone, without realizing it!

You already are the shot-caller in your life. If you’ve made it this far, you surely can’t just give up now, can you? And don’t you dare talk try to weasel yourself out of this by bringing up lame excuses and the likes — networking isn’t scary, and it barely costs you anything!

Running a business is a journey of self-improvement

  • Budgeting
  • Self-confidence
  • Time management
  • Leadership
  • Discerning the real value of things
  • Turning less-than-ideal situations around
  • Multitasking

And, you’ve guessed it — Networking!

So stop making excuses and get ready to go out there and meet new people! (I realise how this came out, and I promise you that I didn’t steal this from a PUA)

1. Networking 101: Go where the people are

And you don’t really have to! Your time is precious. You should always carefully pick your networking events. When strapped for time, you want to focus on opportunities to meet people from your field or niche, potential business partners, clients or at least someone that you’ll have something in common with.

2. Use every opportunity you get to network

You can network just fine at standard, everyday locations like:

  • The grocery store
  • The mall
  • The gym
  • The beach
  • The park
  • The café

3. If they can’t approach you, you can’t really have a conversation

It’s all the standard stuff. If you isolate yourself in a corner and never even look at the people in your room, you can’t hope to get much networking done.

4. Always have a goal in mind

  • Why are you here?
  • What are you looking for?
  • How many new connections are you trying to establish?
  • What type of people do you want to connect with?
  • What do your connections need to have in common?

Figuring out the answers will allow you to prepare a simple and easy-to-follow plan on how to proceed with your conversations. Ideally, you’d always be there to connect with at least a couple of new people who would, at one point in time, be able to provide you, or your business with value. Therefore, they’d need to be positive and success-oriented individuals who are more-or-less there with the same goal as you. And would you look at that — you already have something in common!

5. Be the conversation starter

Know how to open a conversation and get someone’s attention initially. People like talking about themselves and sharing the things that they feel are interesting. And — surprise, surprise — business leaders are people too! Bet you never thought about that, eh? But, in all seriousness, successful business people are much more likely to want to share their hobbies, passions and interests. After all, success is one of the most potent confidence boosters.

You could ask your conversation partner about:

  • Their hobbies
  • Their interests
  • Their passions
  • What brings them to this event/location/conference
  • What they think is the most important/interesting take-away from the event so far?
  • What is the biggest take-away from similar events that they’ve attended in the past?

6. Keep the conversation going

7. Invest yourself — Give first, receive later

If you apply this method correctly, the other person will feel much more inclined to help you, or in case you aren’t actively “looking” for help, remember your kindness and keep themselves open to future contact possibilities.

8. Stay Positive

Be like the type of person that you’d like to attract. Don’t try to bond with people over how bad or negative something is. Instead, focus on the positives. I’ve outlined the most important steps to help you stay positive and happy.

9. Don’t talk just to fill the silence

Approaching people when you can offer nothing of value is the very definition of “wasting time”.

10. Remember to enjoy yourself

Don’t force yourself to talk with too many people too quickly, don’t be “strictly business” and don’t act as if you’ve got better places to be. All of these things will make you appear too full of yourself and too self-centred to be worth talking to.

11. Always follow up

Well, that about sums up my list for today. And sure, there are a ton of important factors that I didn’t even mention, but we’ve already gone way over my usual post length. For more information on the importance of networking, I suggest that you read through my previous business articles — Links in the resources section below!

And what about you — Do you enjoy networking? What are you least and most favourite parts about it? How often do you visit networking events? As always, if you feel like I’ve missed something crucial, or if you’d like to share your own experiences with networking, please do not hesitate to contact me. I always enjoy hearing from you!

Until next time — stay green and motivated!

Suggested for further reading: my articles on success.

Resources:

© Lifestyle Tips by Antoaneta

Entrepreneur and eco-friendly enthusiast. I’m on a green mission to clean up the way we live. Share the passion — follow my journey now! http://bit.ly/2FloQoQ

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