Three Tips to Network Like a Pro
Networking is important. Whether you want to rise up in your organization, create a company of your own, or become a best selling author, there are three things you need to know when considering your networking skills. Not understanding one of these key aspects of networking will hold you back and keep you from meeting the people who will help you reach success.
The first thing you need to do in order to become a successful networker is just get out there! Once you know what your goals are, you need to become one with the community of people who can help you achieve your goals. If you want to become a successful entrepreneur you need to keep a strong presence at events created for entrepreneurs. If you want to become a successful author, you need to visit book clubs and writing conventions.
Getting immersed in your community is, of course, integral to successful networking. Just showing up, however, isn’t enough. When you meet people who can help you along your journey you can’t show up empty handed.
The second networking tip you must understand is that people who are only out for themselves don’t make it very far. If you show up at an event with no intention of helping others you can be sure that nobody at the event will have the intention of helping you. It’s normal to have your own best interests in mind, but if you want others to assist you then you must be actively searching for ways that you can provide benefits to them.
Do you have a contact that they would benefit from meeting? Do you know an article that would help them become informed on some integral part of their business? If so, share it with them! Networking isn’t about taking value from others. Successful networkers know that helping others is at the core of networking.
The third networking tip you must understand is that asking for help doesn’t hurt your relationships with those you meet. If you’ve been able to help someone in the past then they will want to help you out as well. Of course, asking for something exceptionally time consuming from someone in your network is a bad idea, but that is only because helping you would mean something detrimental to him or her. Asking for introductions to someone or requesting a few minutes of advice will actually deepen a relationship if you have been able to help them out some way in the past.
Don’t be shy about asking for something. Networking is all about mutually benefiting yourself while also helping others simultaneously. If you know what your goals are, don’t feel guilty or shy about asking for help! Thinking of relationships as finite ‘bank accounts’ that you draw from in order to get something is the wrong approach. It feels good to help other people and if you’re asking for something simple like an introduction via email then it can actually build your relationship.
Get immersed in your community. Find value that you can add to others and always try to give before you try to get. Don’t be shy, know what you need, and remember that exercising relationship equity will build relationship equity.
If you’re not already following these tips then make sure you begin immediately! Anyone in business will know that who you know is often more important that what you know. Networking skills are integral to your success. Apply them and get out there!