10 Tips for Effective Networking

Don't forget to smile!

“We are stronger together than apart”

This single phrase has helped me transform the way I work and interact with others. Coming from a person who’s always had the attitude “if you want something done right you have to do it yourself,” this realization has had a big impact on me.

Focus on how you can help the other person. People are more likely to want to help someone that’s helped them. Doing this you open up the door to creating mutually benefiting relationships.

Here are 10 tips to help you network effectively:

  1. What are your networking goals? The most important thing to keep in mind is your objectives for networking, when networking with others. What are you trying to gain, what do you have to offer? When you have clear answers to these questions, it will be easier to focus on making quality connections and stay on track with your goals.
  2. What’s your story? How did you get started? Perhaps there was an interesting event or occurrence that brought you into your line of work. People love stories. If you have memorable story to use when introducing yourself to others, you’ll greatly increase the chances of them remember you and sharing your story with others.
  3. Make a positive impression. People want to work with positive people, having an upbeat attitude and response will increase your chances of creating a lasting impression. Just remember to be genuine, don’t be overly cheery and gung-ho. People will connect with you more when you’re positive, but still down to earth.
  4. Focus on quality, not quantity. Instead of focusing on making as many connections as possible with other people, focus on the quality of those connections. Is there a great chance for a mutual benefit? If not, move on. If there is, try to find a way you can help the other person succeed with their own goals.
  5. Be interested. The best way to make friends and to network is to become interested in others. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. People will be more likely to trust you because they’ll know it’s not all about you.
  6. Like likes like. Try to make connections with people that have similar interests as you. You’ll have a deeper chance of connecting with other person and they’ll be more likely to want to help you.
  7. Become an expert and write about it. Do you have a particular knack for something in your field of work? Start a blog and write about it. Or write a few articles and submit them to online article banks like ehow and how stuff works. Now you have published, referencable content that you can use as a source when networking. After introducing yourself you could tell them about one of your articles and how you think they might be able to benefit from it. Make it a double whammy and include your story in your how-to articles.
  8. Really listen. Most of the time when we’re listening to another person, we’re really just formulating our response. Instead of just thinking about how you’re going to respond, quiet your thoughts and really listen to what they say, this will help you with the next tip.
  9. Uncover their needs. Try to find out how you can benefit the other person. Ask them questions about what goals and aspirations they have.
  10. Offer help. Once you’ve uncovered a perceived need, offer your help. Even if they decline, they will be appreciate your willingness to help and will be more likely to want to help you in return.

I’ve realized the key to success is giving what you want to receive. If you want more traffic, send other people traffic. If you want more people to link to you, link to other people. If you want more comments on your articles, comment on other peoples articles.

When someone reciprocates, treat it as a gift and thank them.

Focus less on selling yourself and more on how you can help others. It’s in the spirit of giving that others are more likely to help you in return. Remember “we are stronger together than apart.”

If you’d like to practice your networking skills, feel free to send me an email. Perhaps there’s some way we can help each other. =)

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Related articles: Learning to Love Networking – Akemi Gaines

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