Who has not heard the expression networking? This English word, very popular recently, has been used for a long time in reference to professional relationships and business connections.
Now, ask yourself: are you using the best tools to improve your networking strategies? It is not easy, we know it. For that reason, we have drawn this small guide, where you can learn the best networking strategies so you can take advantage of every opportunity:
1. Analyse the environment and seek for potential ways of connection
Firstly, you must know the sector you are placed in; secondly, you have to know the field of influence you want to work on. Once these established, search for the opportunities to connect with people of your interest. Social media, such as Linkedin or Xing may be useful to make a first approach. There are also forums, and some other activities that will help you to contact on a “first person” basis. Wilhelm Lappe’s blog and Emprendedores magazine provide a wide range of interesting events.
2. Sign up for business summits and events
Critical! Direct relationships are the best way to reach close connections. Once you have researched the contacts in your area, it is time to take profit of them.
“Introduce yourself or ask to be introduced; shake hands firmly, keep eye contact, and, over all, show yourself calm and confident.”
3. Make use of networking tools
Today there are a few companies focused on expanding professional connections: Womenalia, Networking Activo, Madrid Network, Negocios and Networking are a few examples. Make use of them.
4. Observe carefully
Sometimes this is the key. Knowing how to read people can be critical to guess what they like or dislike. When interacting, these are to be regarded.5. Take advantage of non-verbal communicationIntroduce yourself or ask to be introduced; shake hands firmly, keep eye contact, and, over all, show yourself calm and confident. These techniques, which may seem obvious, are frequently missed, but they are they key to give a good first impression.6. Provide an extra valueNetworking is not about ‘selling’ your business or yourself, but about talking to your listeners, to get to know each other and talking about mutual-interest subjects. If there is any subject of their preference keep on talking about it.7. Be smart in your choicesDo not waste your business cards. Analyse the environment and focus on those who can add value to your activity. Nonetheless, you can never know, any acquaintance could become a potential trade connection.
“Networking is not about ‘selling’ your business or yourself, but about talking, to get to know each other and talking about mutual-interest subjects.”
8. Measure your timingSometimes,” Discretion is the better part of valour”. If you have followed the previous steps, you will have for sure made a god impression. Avoid being the spotlight in the conservation.9. Follow-upOne non-written rule is to keep in contact with your new acquaintances after the first meeting. Try to create some interest group or join to some previous one. There is no point in giving your best in the meeting failing in following up accordingly.
“Networking is not about hunting. It is about farming. It’s about cultivating relationships” Dr. Ivan Misner