You may find it hard to believe that a network can significantly advance your career, but it’s true! Knowing how to effectively network can open many doors for you. You can gain access to job opportunities, new ideas, professional connections, career advice, and valuable information.
You can build your network in several ways, both online and in person. This article explains what networking is, identifies the many ways in which it can benefit you, and introduces you to seven strategies you can use to network effectively in the business world.
What is networking?
Networking in a business context refers to the process through which people meet other people, establish beneficial relationships, share information, and create new professional connections. These connections prove to be very useful in a number of situations—searching for a new job, developing your skills, or increasing your industry knowledge.
It gives you opportunities to connect with people within your industry of interest or who may be able to provide you with a reference or recommend you to a client in the future. You can form the necessary connections so much quicker and easier when you know how to network professionally.
What are the benefits of networking?
You gain access to valuable new information
Networking enables you to expand your knowledge in your field of interest, keeping you current in terms of trends and advancements. When you attend networking events, you have the opportunity to learn a lot.
You’re able to advance your career
In order to quickly build your reputation, online and physical networks are key. The same goes for establishing credibility through your work. This can open doors to employment opportunities and relationships with new demographics.
You get access to support and career advice
When you connect with people who can serve as your mentors and advisors, it can boost your career because you’re able to learn from their knowledge and perspective. Moreover, the emotional support and motivation you receive will help you further accelerate your career growth and success.
You come across new ideas
There’s also a high possibility of personal and professional growth. Partnerships and meetings with others in your field of interest can create opportunities for you to learn new techniques and skills.
How to network effectively
These networking basics will help increase your confidence as you attempt to forge new, valuable connections.
Interact with new people at networking events
Take advantage of opportunities to network by connecting with as many new people as you possibly can. You should aim for five new individuals per hour and allow yourself at least 10 minutes to speak with each one. Your discussions should cover basic topics like your hobbies or professions so that you’ll be better able to identify a common connection. As you continue to grow your network, you improve your chances of finding new opportunities.
Go to different events
It might be the case that you attend the same types of gatherings all the time, where you already know most of the participants. Consider attending other types of events. It will give you more of an opportunity to meet new people and become more diverse in your interests.
Build genuine connections
Instead of participating in a large number of quick conversations, concentrate on creating quality connections. You may be in a better position to achieve this if you extend the length of your conversations. This paves the way for more substantive discussion and increases the likelihood that you’ll leave a lasting impression.
In the event that you recognize the potential for a meaningful connection, you should try to make an effort to identify common interests and goals that could help build a strong relationship. Make use of Leadar to find out more professional information about your interlocutors.
Carry with you an impressive business card
The majority of people at those events bring with them business cards to exchange with others—cards that are generally similar in terms of size, format, and color scheme. To help yours stand out, consider a distinctive design that is relevant to your industry. For instance, you may create a card that resembles a camera if you’re a photographer. Your creativity increases your chances of a more meaningful connection.
Go online to find new connections
While professional networking is mostly done in person, social media platforms also present a perfect opportunity, helping you create an even larger network. Using your social media profiles, you can keep adding new people to your network—colleagues, people you met at in-person networking functions, experts in your field—as many as five each week would do.
Experts who regularly post content may provide valuable information that can be applied to your work. Sending them an industry-related question or a comment expressing your admiration for their work via private message can help you connect on a higher level.
After establishing a new connection, it’s important to keep building and strengthening it. Once a few days have passed since the networking event, you should reach out to your new contact and express your pleasure in having met them. You can do this by sending them an email, calling them, or sending a text message. Propose a get-together to continue your discussions about your common interests, and make an effort to reach out every few months.
Help members of your network
Providing assistance to your connections is a surefire way to demonstrate your dependability and generosity, as well as to increase the likelihood that they will return the favor or even recommend you for a suitable opportunity. In all your interactions, engage in active listening to find opportunities to offer your assistance.
Regardless of what stage you’re at in your career, networking can significantly help advance it. There’s no perfect time to invest in your network. Any time is good—it’s never too early or too late. If you follow our tips, put yourself out there, and make a genuine effort, you’ll see your network grow. Always be sure to remain in constant contact with your network, whether it be by way of email, text, or phone calls. You’ll be surprised at how many opportunities present themselves in such a simple endeavor.