Getting a job is not only about what you know and what you’ve learnt but it is also about who you know, and if you are able to connect with the right people, it will be able to take you to the right places. Although rather intimidating, creating your own network and being able to build it is an essential task for your future employment as it will be useful in terms of setting up your future jobs, business deals and partnerships.
Through your life, there will be plenty of opportunities to build professional and successful relationships. Having those kinds of connections with the right people will help you move up in your career, however it isn’t as easy as it looks. In fact, building your network can be overwhelming and very intimidating, especially with people that hold importance such as top executives or industry leaders.
Having a network helps you in various fields whether it be professionally or not. You never know when you need help with connecting with others and to be connected with someone who already has connections could help you in the long run. Starting a network doesn’t necessarily mean making new relationships, and you can also start before you need it. Your network can even start with your current contacts, whether it be friends and family, they can also help you with your career and get connected with their own connections.
Networking is important to develop throughout your career and there are a few tips that could help you with how to be a networker and developing the skills and confidence needed to be able to approach people and create relationships. These are simple tips on the best way to network which including:
To network means to go out to events and reach out to people. Make conversation, engage and involve yourself with others. This is where your social side comes out and you learn about yourself as much as you learn about others. Sometimes you have to leave your comfort zone to be able to create new relationships with others.
Have a goal
When building your network, make sure you have a goal before initiating any kind of interaction. Whether it be with a network contact you already have or you’re about to go to a networking event to make connections, knowing what you want out of the interaction would allow you to set the path, lead the interaction, and also have clear communication on what you’re trying to achieve through the interaction.
Being properly prepared would prevent you from giving a poor performance. Before going to a networking event, find topics that could carry a conversation and break the ice. These topics would most likely revolve around your knowledge in what you already know and what you have researched so others can see you have been well prepared.
Focus on a high impact conversation
Focus on the main points of what you want to get through to be able to give an impactful conversation. By developing a quick 60-second elevator pitch to introduce yourself and communicate what you are looking for, it will be enough to grab their attention that is short and succinct. With the short time, you can ask for further contact for the future to let the other know that you are interested. However, as it is a conversation, make sure to ask questions and most importantly listen to what the other has to say. Also remember that networking is a mutually beneficial relationship so don’t get stuck on one person for too long and move on for further contacts.
Create a schedule
To make it effective, networking should be down periodically. Networkers create a schedule in which they’ll devote their time to networking. This way, you can stay organised while also building your connections. This tip can also link to the first tip in which you create a schedule to attend networking events and set a goal on what you want to achieve from your schedule.
Networking can be tiring, especially if you don’t enjoy it. However, the best networkers are passionate about what they do. If you show your enthusiasm and you’re passionate about your field, people would want to hear and engage with you. It can be intimidating talking to employers and those who have a high status, however showing a positive and passionate personality will help you connect and give interest.
You are bound to come across a lot of people in a short amount of time during networking events and this could lead to having too much information on your hands. Be organised and keep a list to help you notes down the crucial information of your contact. This could include contact information, who they represent, and their expertise.
Be brave and open
Although networking can be intimidating, you need to be able to be brave and approach others. While you’re engaging in conversation, your speech will also indicate whether you have the confidence or not to interact with people. If you show that you are brave enough, people will embrace it and the conversation will flow easier.
Instead of thinking of what you can gain from the potential connection, first think about how you can add value to it. Being able to give value and offer yourself in the relation will be able to build the quality of that relationship. Adding value to your connections will not only show your respect and appreciation, but if it works mutual, the relationship can expose you to numerous opportunities.
There are no limitations to your network. Creating a network is to expand your connections and that means to have diversity. Don’t just engage with people that are at your level but to people that are of above or below to you as you can be exposed to their own networks too.
Networking is not only about going to events and meeting new people, but it’s about building connections that are meaningful and could help you develop and influence you to grow in your career. What matters is the people that you engage yourself with and although a network is there for you to benefit from, you also have to offer yourself to help your contacts. Make sure that the people you do network with are people that you trust that could lead to you having a valuable relationship.
Pozin, I. How to Become a Top Networker, http://www.forbes.com/sites/ilyapozin/2013/03/27/how-to-become-a-top-networker/#21c81606295d
Feloni, R. & Lee, S. 2015, How anyone can become a master networker, http://www.businessinsider.com.au/how-to-become-a-master-networker-2015-5