Ive been attending local networking events as long as Ive run my content marketing agency (so, 13 years). Im aware that trying to sell yourself isnt the general concept behind networking, that its better to build relationships over time rather than “machine gunning” your business card to everyone in the room. Believe me, Ive seen people do that, and it never goes well.
Asking her to elaborate, she told me a story about how my brother, recently graduated from high school and without contacts in the Arkansas town we had just moved to, was struggling to find a job. Our mother told him he needed to know someone to get a job. She encouraged him to ask any and everyone he could for leads, and she did the same. Apparently, the parents of a friend of mine owned a cleaning service, and when my mother told them that her son was looking for a job, they ended up hiring him.
How to Network Like a Pro. (Business Networking )
Why is networking in business important?
Business networking can give you access to new opportunities you might not be able to find on your own. For example, your network could provide you with insight into new sales techniques, information on a competitors marketing strategies or advice on how you can improve professionally. A list of business contacts can also become a great resource for fulfilling company needs, such as an ideal candidate for an open position.
Effective business networking can save you time and alleviate stress, so knowing how to use it effectively can be a powerful tool for a company’s development. Here are more reasons why business networking is important:
What is networking in business?
Business networking is the act of maintaining positive relationships with clients and other professionals in your industry. Maintaining a contact list can allow you to share important insights, stay updated on industry developments and achieve business goals. You may also offer and receive valuable career guidance or learn about job opportunities. To create a beneficial network, business professionals often intentionally seek opportunities to expand their list of professional contacts.
How does business networking work?
Business networking typically occurs at an industry event arranged so multiple professionals can connect in the same location, discuss relevant topics and exchange ideas. You can also find similar opportunities online through certain social media platforms, forums and webinars. After these events finish, you can exchange contact information with other attending professionals or follow their online account to stay updated about their business activities. By maintaining positive relationships with these individuals, you can exchange advice and insights that may help you grow a successful enterprise.
Here are some other common ways to network in business:
7 tips for effective business networking
Consider these seven tips on how to use your professional network effectively:
1. Look for the right people
Connect with professionals who can offer the specific help you need. For instance, if you’re interested in pursuing business opportunities in a new field, consider engaging with friends or former colleagues who work in that industry. If you’re seeking new social media strategies instead, you might attend a webinar hosted by an expert, then engage with their online profile afterward. To find the right networking activities, consider asking a workplace for recommendations or researching options online.
2. Be proactive
3. Offer assistance
Keep track of your contacts’ skill sets and business ventures so you can offer support, when appropriate. Becoming a resource for others can encourage your contacts to trust your expertise and view you as dependable. If you provide helpful assistance, your contacts may also be more likely to support your own activities. Be sure to respond promptly if a contact approaches you for advice. If you lack knowledge about a subject, you can direct them toward another contact or pose their question to a networking group.
4. Cultivate personal contacts online
The internet is a valuable resource for creating, cultivating and communicating with your contacts. Use social media platforms to connect with professionals in your area, reconnect with old friends and start conversations with the people you meet while on the job. A friend or acquaintance might become a professional contact in the future, especially if you share mutual business interests and objectives. Sending a friend request or a brief message to a new contact may help them remember you and encourage them to seek out a mutual relationship.
5. Attend company events
6. Follow up after events
It’s often important to follow-up with any new contacts you find at an in-person or online event. This demonstrates your interest in their business ventures and an ability to hold yourself accountable. As a result, a contact may remember you for future opportunities or positions. They may also become more receptive to your advice or offer their own, which may enhance your business developments and strategies.