Networking: Necessary or Not?
If you are in the entrepreneurial community, I am sure it has been burned into your memory to network. Networking is something many people are told to do, but not taught how to do. Here are some helpful tips to guide you through effective networking:
Before attending networking events, understand why you are networking in the first place and then set a clear goal you want to accomplish at the event. Do you want to promote your business? Do you want to obtain support and build connections with people from a certain industry? Do you want to acquire information about an industry before starting a business?
Don’t just show up, show out.
Just because you attend an event does not mean you networked. Simply showing up does not count. You need to engage in insightful conversations with other attendees. Start with simple icebreaker questions such as “What brings you to this event?” or “How did you get involved into this industry?”
Networking should be mutually beneficial.
We tend to dwell on what others can do for us more than what we have to offer in return. Always remember networking is not solely about what you can gain from someone. It is about making mutually benefiting relationships. Actively listen and engage with them the same way you would want them to do for you.
Personalize each encounter.
There is no perfect science to networking. People have varying communication styles so it is important to cater your responses appropriately to the person’s personality. The conversation you have when networking should NOT be the same every time. It is not your elevator pitch.
Networking can be overwhelming at the beginning and the results may not be instant. Lasting meaningful connections take a lot of time and effort to uphold. However, if you dedicate time to network and make it a habit, you will be on the right road to becoming a networking natural. Click here to read more tips about effective networking.