“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Cliché, yes. True? Absolutely when it comes to networking.
Networking can open up opportunities, stimulate new ideas, get closer to your dream job or even lead your company to success.
For many of us, networking is not a given, especially those who are shy or shy. How do you network if you don’t enjoy talking to people? Is it worth networking if you are not a confident speaker? Yes … a thousand times, yes.
You only have to recognize that the main goal of networking is to Continue the conversation after the first meeting. The real work begins after the initial introduction. Keeping in touch will make you more memorable, able to prove your worth, and appear zealous and confident. If you’re looking for a job or business opportunity, you’ll make a far bigger impression by becoming a regular contact, rather than just this guy at the networking event.
Networking is about taking decisive action. But it is a difficult art to master. Especially during a pandemic. N.etworking can take place in person at business events or meetings, but most likely, over the next few months, networking can be done digitally by contacting LinkedIn or attending webinars. Their approach is basically the same in both cases.
Simple steps to network with other professionals
Would you like to know how important it is to be a good conversationalist? Be a good listener. One mistake many people make when networking is to keep talking about yourself. They become a walking résuméIt is rather than a person having a conversation.
When in doubt, always remember this quote from the classic book How to make friends and influence people: “To be interesting, be interested.”
Networking is as much about learning from other people as it is about promoting yourself. So if you are shy, don’t worry! You can approach networking with less focus on yourself and still get great results.
Listen carefully, ask more questions, and also pay attention to your body language. People can quickly tell if you’re not listening or interested just in the way you present yourself. Unfold those arms, face the person you are talking to, make eye contact, smile, and nod at what they are saying. Make them your main focus.
2. Ask the right questions
Asking questions about their job or their industry is a very easy way to make connections.
Skip the “How long have you worked at X?” Instead, try, “How do you think the industry will change in five years?” Another idea is to ask if they recommend books or resources that they personally use to learn more about the industry.
People usually appreciate being asked for their opinion as long as you show interest and ask additional questions. Make sure you listen! You can’t ask follow-up questions if you don’t listen to the first answer.
3. Focus on solving problems and becoming an asset
What’s the most important thing people get wrong at networking events? You focus on yourself. They talk about all of the great things they can do, the experience they have and why they are amazing. All of this may be true, but that’s not what people are looking for at networking events.
They look for solutions, not sales pitches.
The problem with networking is that there are a lot of people trying to sell something that nobody asked for. A better approach is to first investigate the problems that you need help with first and work back from there.
If you want to promote something, either for yourself or for a business idea, you need to address vulnerabilities and solve problems. Solving problems = creating added value. So focus on what you can give and What problems can you to solve, rather than what you can make of it.
The first time you approach someone, avoid rushing to them and talk about yourself. Don’t hit them right away with a sales pitch. Instead, give something instead of asking for something. Provide useful advice, ideas, recommend a book or podcast that can help you solve a similar problem. Below you can let the idea float about what you can offer them, but when you do, be sure to state exactly what Problems You can solve.
4. Write it down
People who are naturally shy struggle with networking, and many will avoid it altogether. For those who are nervous about networking, one of the first steps you can take is to reconsider what you know.
In a room full of experts, it’s easy to feel out of place or like you don’t belong. However, try not to devalue your knowledge or accomplishments, no matter where you are in your professional career.
Before attending networking events or reaching out to others on LinkedIn, write down what you know, what your experiences are, and what value you can offer. When you’re nervous, just think back on everything you wrote down. Better yet, write everything down on an index card, slip it in your pocket, and refer to it whenever you need a reminder. Read it through briefly before meeting anyone to instantly instill confidence.
While there will be gaps in your knowledge and experience (like everyone else), this exercise can be a helpful reminder of your own worth.
5. Track and close the loop
The first big mistake people make when networking is not networking at all. The second biggest mistake cannot be pursued any further. Closing the loop is our term for tracking after an initial introduction.
Closing the loop reminds the other person that a) you exist, b) you actually took their advice, and c) you can add value and build a solid professional relationship with them.
But how do you close the circle? Just say thank you No, everyone does that and it pretty much ends the conversation. Instead, mention something that is directly related to the conversation you had. This is why it is so important to listen carefully!
Try something like:
“Hi there [new contact]I just wanted to say thank you for speaking to myself earlier. I definitely will [follow up on something they suggested] and will let you know how to do it. “
This goes far beyond a simple, grateful exchange. It stands out, shows that you’ve listened and want to keep the conversation open.
A few weeks later, follow again. Use a different angle this time and add value. For example, send an article that you think will interest them. If possible, choose something related to your first conversation. However, do not ask them to visit your website or read your book. The key here is not to ask a favor. Remember, we are still in the value creation phase.
After a few weeks, it’s time to come full circle. Here you show that you have taken action on what they suggested. If the other person recommended a website or podcast, let them know that you checked it out and what you think of it.
Say something like:
“I remembered what you said about [point they made] and I decided to check out [website they recommended]. I found [example article] very helpful and me [took action, resulting in X achievement]”.
The great thing about this closed loop tactic is that it shows that you are ready to listen to advice and take action. This type of email will help you stand out from all those people who are disconnecting. Besides, who doesn’t want a nice email telling them their advice is great?
Not sure where to start? We have some Scripts You can follow to perfect the closing-the-loop tactic.
6. Be prepared (even if it’s a script)
Speaking of scripts, don’t be afraid of them. It’s not just the college freshman out there who needs to prepare notes. Often times, CEOs and presidents are prepared with scripts and topics of conversation so they know exactly what to say.
Scripts don’t have to be complex. This is not a Christopher Nolan movie. In fact, simpler is often better to keep your dialogue from feeling stilted, or … you know, like a script. Practice them for more confidence and impact.
The art of effective networking can be boiled down to just one thing: listen, ask the right questions, write down what you know, practice your script (pitch), and come full circle.
Virtual networking can be a little trickier, but for most of the world this is our only option right now. If you need more help with email networking, fill in your details below to receive a free copy of my 5 best email networking scripts. When you combine the principles of this post with powerful scripting, you can create connections that will take your career to the next level.