Whether you are a corporate employee, self-employed professional or entrepreneur, climbing the ladder to success can be easy if you are committed to consistently following a few simple networking strategies in your career. In this post I will introduce you to some best practice tools to foster effective business networking.
One of the most important skills I learned as I moved up the corporate ladder that still serves me well today is the art of networking. For an entrepreneur and small business owner, referrals can make up 80%-90% of new business revenues. Networking is both a competency and a process that you need to hone in order to be successful.
Businesses have a love-hate relationship with networking: It takes time and effort, but it can also beget some great rewards. Here are some ways to keep your company on top of its networking game.
Here are some useful networking and business tips which I’ve discovered over the years throughout my corporate career and I consistently incorporate to improve my business relationships:
1. Build Your Network Naturally
Practice networking naturally by any event you think useful and which could help to build your career or extend the reach of your business prospects. You will meet many interesting people and contacts, some of which will become great clients, colleagues or friends which again could turn out to become lead generators.
2. Develop Thick Skin
Get comfortable hearing the word “no”, over and over and over again. It will build your character and make you tenacious about your business.
3. Be Sociable
I had a boss once who used to say “in life you always meet twice” The world is getting smaller all the time. Don’t burn any bridges and be genuinely nice to everyone. I try to convince all the people I am working with as well as my direct reports to adopt this practice.
4. Give and then maybe you can get
Give your time, your advice, and especially your referrals. It will all come back. By being open you will attract so many opportunities that for sure you will get back what you have given compounded many times. Beware about toxic people who only jeopardise your time and resources, I am sure you will detect them early stage and will know a “gentle” manner to avoid them in the future.
5. Grow Your Relationship Database
You are only 4 or 5 people away from anything you ever want or need. All you have to do is ask and don’t be afraid of rejection it is part of the growth system.
Of course, today everyone uses social networks and it is very good tool to stay in touch with former colleagues or touch base with some people of your database to look for opportunities. Don’t forget however that there is also a real world out there and I would recommend to you to practice face to face communication on a regular basis.
8. Build Rapport
Make sure others see you as a positive, warm and friendly person they would like to interact with. Make sure your positive personality and outlook is attracting relationships and not pushing them away. If you are not a great communicator one of the best investments you could do for your career is either to take a coach or to start an activity which forces you to talk and interact with people on a regular basis.
9. Set Goals
Do more of what you love to do and what works and do less of the things you don’t like and don’t work. by practicing this habit in a very in every area of your life you get the best chances to achieve your goals in business and in your life.
10. Access Available Resources
There are so many resources available to support you in whatever you wish to do. Build a strong support team which includes family, friends and colleagues. Read books about management or biographies about successful managers and entrepreneurs like Richard Branson and other inspirational and informative books on networking. Join networking groups in person and on-line. Get connected and stay connected through all possible Social Media platforms focusing on the major ones, LinkedIn, Xing, Google+, Facebook and Twitter. Developing your own Personal Platform will alongside to boost your connecting rate will bring you the benefit to be 100% in control and though be able to leverage at best your efforts.
Networking is about connecting with people, building and nurturing relationships, sharing information, tapping into the hidden job market, learning about career opportunities, pooling resources and expanding your contacts. Networking is about connecting with people, not collecting people. It is truly a life skill whereby you build, nurture, and maintain quality mutually-beneficial relationships over your career and your lifetime.
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Have a great day and don’t hesitate to drop me a line or comment on the topic if you wish to share your experiences with all the readers.