How to Network Successfully
It is said that no man is an island, and this is especially true in the world of business.
Regardless of the industry, sector, or niche you work within, you won’t be doing so alone; there will be a vast number of businesses operating in the same market as you. While healthy competition can help boost your productivity, rather than looking at these businesses as competition, view them as collaborators, people who you can turn to for support, and who you will support when they need you. However, there is an art to networking.
It Takes Two
Networking is effectively a partnership, and it depends on both parties to drive it and make it work. You may want to shout about the amazing things you, and your business, offers, but you need to listen as well to whoever you are talking with. It’s a conversation, rather than a lecture. By discussing your mutual interests and what your businesses are about, you can create a deeper connection, one which you can both depend upon later. Plus, people like to be listened to and made to feel valued, which you can do by listening to what they have to say carefully. You never know what you may learn! A business which you may have previously thought didn’t relate to yours may be completely wrong, and the owner may turn out to be someone who you truly want on your side.
Choose Your Network Carefully
It’s very easy and tempting to get swept away in the rush when making network connections. You may find yourself at an event, eagerly handing out business cards to all you encounter. However, you first need to assess whether the ones you give your details to will be interested in your company. Having industry insiders on your team is vital, but if that industry is far away from your own, they are taking the place of someone who will really help. Plus, those who you choose to surround yourself with can boost your morale and your productivity. If you are a remote worker or a freelancer, networking in a dedicated co-working space, as offered by thebrew.co.uk, can help you build your professional relationships.
Utilise Online Networking
We live in an increasingly digital society, where many interactions are now performed online, from discussing the latest TV shows on social media to ordering our grocery shop. It stands to reason that online networking is an effective and efficient way to do so. There are numerous ways to network online, with joining professional sites such as LinkedIn being one key way. Much like with starting a conversation, however, networking online demands your time and effort. Connecting with an industry contact is a good idea, but you need to back up the connection and engage with the person behind the screen. Take the time to get to know someone before you add them as a connection. Not only will they appreciate the effort, but you will also find out whether they are someone who can help boost your business.