The Benefits of Networking: How to Become a Super Networker
Networking plays a significant role in the success of businesses and careers. It is not just about what you know, but also who you know, that can help you reach the top. However, networking needs to be done with intention, so that it bears fruit. In this article, we will explore some of the tips that can help you achieve productive networking and help you join the ranks of the Super Networkers.
Before the Event:
1. Choose the right events
Choosing the right events and networks to invest your time in is the first step to effective networking. You can’t attend every event out there, so make sure you choose the ones that are most relevant to your target market or industry. This requires some research and planning, but it saves you time and energy in the end.
2. Plan and prepare
A good networker is a good planner. Before you attend an event, research who is attending and figure out if anyone you know can introduce you to the person you want to speak with. Don’t go to events aimlessly hoping to meet the right people. Be strategic and have a plan.
3. Make it about the other person
Networking events are not just about letting people know you exist, but more importantly it’s about getting to know others and understanding how you can help them. Make sure you take the time to find out about their needs and interests. Ask questions like: What can I do for you? How can I help? This approach is what makes you memorable and creates genuine connections.
4. Be present
When speaking to someone, be fully present and attentive. Don’t scan the room for other people while they’re talking to you, as it can make them feel undervalued. Instead, actively listen to what they’re saying and give them the respect they deserve. If you want to speak to someone else, be honest and let them know.
5. Be a good listener
Being a good listener is essential to successful networking. Listen intently to the person speaking to you and think about how you may be able to help them. The more you remember about them the next time you meet, the better the relationship will be.
6. Ask insightful questions
To listen well, you may have to ask clarifying and insightful questions. This will help the other person open up and give you a better understanding of their needs and interests.
After the Event:
7. Capture contacts
After an event, make sure you capture the details of the contacts you’ve made. Use a sales or CRM software to manage your contacts, or simply use Excel to capture their details. Take note of any relevant information that will help you if you meet them again in the future.
8. Follow up
Don’t forget to follow up with the contacts you meet. A couple of days after the event, follow up with them and let them know you were pleased to meet them. Avoid using a follow-up email as a means to sell yourself. Instead, try to provide some useful information, or ask if you can add them to your mailing list.
9. Fulfill promises
Make sure you make a note of any commitments or promises you have made to people and follow through with them. If you can’t fulfill a promise, it’s best to let them know as soon as possible.
10. Use your network
Your contacts are not just for one-time use. Keep in touch with them by sending them useful articles or invite them to a business event when one arises. Build relationships with them so that when you need help, they will be there to support you.
11. Make getaways
There will be times when you need to make a getaway. For example, if you need to speak to someone important who is walking towards the door, don’t miss the opportunity. Telling the truth about your intentions and politely excusing yourself is a good strategy. Also, be mindful of the other person’s feelings and don’t make them feel undervalued.
12. Value quality over quantity
At the end of the day, it’s better to create warm leads than to collect a pocket full of business cards. Building relationships takes time, so don’t focus on quantity – focus on quality.
Networking is an important activity to help grow your business and career. It requires time, effort, and planning. These tips will help you become a Super Networker and make sure your networking activities are productive. Remember to listen, engage, and focus on building relationships, not just collecting business cards. Networking is about building a community and a support system that will help you achieve success.