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5 Best Tips For Networking Success

This article was originally published on IoTalents.
If you are looking to take your career one step ahead, or just keeping a lookout for a great opportunity, it a wise choice to get good at the essential business activity of networking.
Networking, in essence, is the act of meeting people to form new relationships – relationships that could potentially culminate in a lucrative job offer or help in your work when you need it.

Freelancers would find networking to be especially important, as getting jobs often for them are very dependent on getting their name out to the market.
Countless books, articles, guides, and websites have been devoted to networking. Educational institutions, like Singapore Management University are increasingly including networking skills into their curriculum to help students prepare for real-world networking events. Networking is truly a valuable skill that will give your career a boost.
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Here are 5 tips we have found that will give the biggest boost to your networking skills:

  • Have a sincere, genuine interest in the person you are talking to. This is the number one golden rule of networking! It is easy to forget that networking is not just about collecting name cards, it is about relationship-building.
  • This means that it is a lot like trying to make a new friend – because it is. Listen intently and let the other party speak more – it helps you to understand them better.
  • Carrying on from the point above, lifestyle guru and New York Times bestselling author Tim Ferriss recommends prioritizing meeting interesting people over interesting sessions. Put your focus on the bios of the people speaking, rather the content or title of their speech.
  • Do not try to meet everyone. It can be tempting to talk to as many people as possible at a networking event. Do not do this. You will be spreading yourself too thin and fail to leave a reasonable impression on any of the people you spoke to. Aim to have meaningful dialogue with a few people – refer to point one about being genuinely interested in the other person. One solid contact gained is far better than ten weak ones.
  • Follow up with the other person! Tim Ferriss calls this “playing the long game”. Before ending the conversation, always ask the other party which mode of communication is best for them. The networking part is just the beginning of the relationship; as with all relationships, it takes time to build. Drop the other party a message or email within 2 days after the initial meet – be sincere and warm when doing this.
  • Have a good time! It is okay to be nervous and a little reserved, especially for the more introverted of us. Relax, and treat the people you are talking to as if they were old friends. Be yourself. Remember point one again – be genuinely interested in the other person!

Good networking skills are so valuable because they equip you with the ability to better tap into some of the most valuable resources around other people.
Why Skill Development Important for Success?

Above all, being good at networking is about simply being good, honest and sincere with people. Use these tips for your next networking session – and who knows, you might just land your next big opportunity.

What to do next?

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What is business networking?

Networking is the process of building and maintaining relationships. It is known as business networking when such a relationship is for mutual benefit with business people, clients, or customers. These networks are further bifurcated into five types. The first type are casual contact networks where people from varied professions meet informally. The second are strong contact networks, where members help each other to exchange and increase business and follow a strong referral network. Third come community service clubs, which are not business-oriented but aim for pure community service. Fourth, professional associations are formed with members of the same profession like banking, health, accounting, etc. Fifth, online social media networks are formed especially for increasing business reach with social media. The aim is to increase the number of followers or connections.

What all is included in networking skills?

To improve networking, one must possess and improve upon a few skills. Active listening, which is more than just hearing, is one of those skills. Communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal, have to be improved. Interpersonal skills are also to be worked upon. Humour, often underestimated, plays a crucial role in building one's network. What you give is what you take, which holds very well when discussing respect, which is a key networking skill. Confidence and friendliness are two skills that every person should possess, not necessarily for networking only. Good emotional intelligence, body language, and public speaking skills too add to one’s personality.

How to increase the efficacy of formal communication?

When communication is in a business environment, it has to be formal. To increase formal communication's effectiveness, the message must be kept real and transparent. If any information cannot be shared, mention it as confidential. Timely delivery of messages, their replies, and asking for feedback is a mandate in formal communication. Using complete words in place of abbreviations, minimising personal pronouns, using official titles, and being mindful of how you address your interlocutor will turn an informal communication into a formal one. Tailoring the message to the audience so they find it useful for themselves also forms an integral part of formal communication.

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