Tips for Business Networking
Networking, is it a key requirement for career success? Do you love it or loath it?
This was the topic in one recent discussion on an HR community group. Answers ranged from
- I do it only when I have to for business
- Hate the very thought of it
- It is part of what you need to do
- Love it, it enriches my world
What was interesting, was that whilst almost all respondents agreed that it was an essential activity, there was a feeling of resistance or hesitation.
As one person commented:
When it’s a forced, you should attend type event then I’m more reluctant – but have on occasion been surprised when I’ve attended and enjoyed the event – though, I may add, less frequently.
And that seems to be the key – much like managing change, If its a self initiated activity, we are OK with it, but as soon as it is imposed on many of us, we start to find reasons to resist the activity.
Key Business Networking Tips:
If more people thought of networking as
going to the pub and make new friends
rather than -
I must try and find a new customer
I have xxx to sell
then none of these discussions would happen.
Networking is a natural human activity – why we try to make it fit some artificial “management” or “sales” process is beyond me. Business networking is no different.
So the real question is – do you want to make new friends or not?
So here are my top business networking tips
Business Networking Tip #1 -Relationships – seek to build trust & relationships
Business Networking Tip #2 -ask lots of open-ended questions – seek to explore not close down
Business Networking Tip #3 -purpose- have a clear purpose – know WHY you are doing it
Business Networking Tip #4 - identify – look to find how you can help others – by linking them to OTHER people that can help first
Business Networking Tip #5 - demonstrate your commitment - look to volunteer in running networks or communities, its a great way to get noticed & build trust
Business Networking Tip #6 - Behavior - make it a habit – do it (networking) little and often – mix on line and off line in appropriate balance
Business Networking Tip #7 - Innovate – find creative ways of being memorable – people meet lots – make sure YOU are the one they remember
Business Networking Tip #8 - make part of the goal just to meet new people – not to sell
Business Networking Tip #9 -look to volunteer in running networks or communities – its a great way to get noticed & build trust
Business Networking Tip #10 -only give your business card out when asked for
Business Networking Tip #11- clearly show a real interest in other people – its NOT about YOU or your business!
Business Networking Tip #12 – follow up – its not about collecting business cards, but making relationships – call them after & connect
Business Networking Tip #13 in the immortal words of Woody Allen: “80% of success is showing up!”
For success in Business networking
Business networking does not have to be hard work, scary, or about sales. Keep it real (be yourself), be authentic, have fun – and above all – what you are really doing is seeking friendship by giving – then, when they trust you – the business will follow!
For more information on business networking tips see - business networking