Networking is a crucial factor in the modern workplace. People do business with people they know, like, and trust, and building a strong professional network is crucial to developing your business or career.
Networking involves building business relationships and developing a level of personal credibility. This then both enhances your visibility and how people view your business, but it can create opportunities for yourself and your organisation.
For better or for worse, in almost every profession, it’s not just about what you know, but also who you know that’s important for career advancement. Having a strong network of professionals in your industry can open doors and provide you with opportunities you never thought imaginable. You can also learn a great deal from people in your network who have experience and expertise which can also help you progress.
We’ve compiled some tips and reminders to help you build strong and valuable relationships.
View it as a marketing opportunity. Whether you are networking for an organisation or trying to make a good impression as an individual, always think of it as a marketing opportunity. When it comes to career advancement, your personal brand plays a huge role in opening doors for you. Consider business networking as an opportunity to sell your personal brand to other professionals. Creating respect and trust could serve you in the future if not the present!
If people respect and trust us, they are more likely to think well of our business and the service or product it offers. They’re also more likely to speak highly of you and your business to others.
Be ready to build a rapport. Being able to build a strong rapport comes with developing your soft skills such as communication and emotional intelligence. Rapport building is fundamental to networking, and sometimes it comes naturally. When we share interests or experiences with others, we are more likely to build a natural rapport. Contrastingly, we may meet people who we don’t naturally connect with, but to whom we want to make a good impression.
Being able to converse naturally and confidently with everyone you meet at a networking event is going to help you make the most of the opportunity to meet potential clients and associates.
For more tips on how to build rapport, check out this earlier blog post from Trainer Bubble.
Be proactive. Keep tabs on events that are accessible to you and try to attend as many relevant events as possible. Networking opportunities can happen at any time, not just at organised events. Consider every professional you meet or cross paths with as an opportunity to build your network and approach them as such.
You can also get involved with digital networking, whilst networking online requires a different approach to networking in person, sites such as LinkedIn can help you make contact with a range of people that could benefit you and your business, and whom you may not cross paths with otherwise.
Have a loose pitch. This comes with an ability to build rapport, but it’s important to always have key pieces of information about yourself and your business in your back pocket. These should be things that you deem the most valuable in your pitch (of yourself or your organisation). As mentioned, networking opportunities can happen at any moment, so it’s important to be prepared. Be enthusiastic and passionate about your business and its potential, but remember to adapt your language, tone and other factors dependent on the environment and the people you are speaking to.
Follow up. A crucial practice in business networking is to always follow up with potential contacts. When you meet someone new in an industry context, it is important to exchange contact details so you can stay in touch. Aim to send the other person a brief email the next day or invite them to connect with you on a site such as LinkedIn.
Perhaps you’re looking to improve the networking performance of a management or sales team, or you want to include networking skills training as part of a management and leadership training programme. Whatever your need, Trainer Bubble provides you with a comprehensive networking skills training course to make your life easy.