Business networking involves cultivating relationships with people who can potentially help grow your business. These relationships can be both formal, such as at conferences and events, and informal, such as online connections. Networking can be a powerful tool for creating new opportunities and expanding your reach in the business world. However, there are certain dos and don’ts to keep in mind when it comes to networking. In this article, we’ll share some valuable lessons from real-life networking experiences.
DO: Be authentic
Networking is all about building relationships, and it’s easier to do that when you’re authentic. Be yourself and let people get to know the real you. This means being honest, sharing your values, and showing interest in other people’s perspectives and experiences. When you’re authentic, you create a connection that can lead to future opportunities and collaborations.
DON’T: Be pushy
While it’s important to be proactive and follow up with people after networking events, there’s a fine line between being proactive and being pushy. Don’t bombard people with emails or phone calls asking for favors, as this can be off-putting. Instead, take the time to build a genuine relationship first and let opportunities naturally arise.
DO: Listen more than you talk
One of the most important skills in networking is listening. When you take the time to listen to other people’s stories and experiences, you gain insights into their needs and challenges. This can help you identify ways in which you can potentially help them in the future. Listening also shows that you respect and value the other person’s perspective, which can lead to deeper relationships and trust.
DON’T: Oversell yourself or your products
While it’s important to share what you do and what your business offers, be careful not to oversell yourself or your products. People can quickly become turned off if they feel like they’re being sold to. Instead, focus on building a relationship and let the conversation flow naturally. If the other person is genuinely interested in what you have to offer, they’ll ask for more information.
DO: Be prepared
Whether you’re attending a networking event, meeting someone for coffee, or connecting online, it’s important to be prepared. This means having a clear understanding of what you want to achieve and what you can offer others. Bring business cards, a pen and paper, and any other materials you might need. Also, do your research beforehand so you can ask thoughtful questions and contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way.
DON’T: Be afraid to follow up
Networking is only the beginning. Once you’ve made a connection with someone, it’s important to follow up and continue building the relationship. This can mean sending a quick email to say thank you, scheduling a follow-up meeting, or inviting them to a future event. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and make the first move – it could lead to great things down the line.
In conclusion, business networking can be a valuable tool for growing your business and creating new opportunities. By being authentic, listening more than you talk, and being prepared, you can build meaningful relationships that can lead to lifelong connections. Just remember to avoid being pushy or overselling yourself and always follow up to continue building the relationship. Happy networking!