No one can get ahead in life all by themselves. Everyone needs help from some other person at one time or another. The phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” holds true now more than ever.
The beautiful thing about networking is that it works both ways; it is a give take relationship. If you help somebody, they will have no trouble repaying the favour.
If you have never networked before, networking can at first seem intimidating, but over time you will soon be networking like a pro.
How to Start Networking Effectively
1. Get out there
If people have no idea who you are, then you will have an incredibly hard time building relationships.
Many people are so focused on their workload that they forget to network.
You must get out there; actively seek out people to network with. Go to events in your field and start striking up conversations and handing people your business card.
During hard times, a client will leave you but a friend will stick by you. You must cultivate real, deep meaningful trustworthy relationships to take full advantage of networking. This might not happen with your first impression, but if you put the effort in to get to know people then they will have no trouble trusting you.
A great way to build trust is to try connecting with the person on a personal level as well on a business level.
If you only know people in your industry or social group then you are limiting yourself. Having a diverse network maximises your chances of knowing “connectors -” those people who can put you in touch with people who you would never have otherwise met.
Your networking efforts will be useless unless you maintain the relationships. Maintaining relationships is easy: make a phone call, send a thank you note, send an interesting article, put someone’s link on your website, remember their birthday etc
Technology makes maintaining relationships as easy as possible so there is no excuse not to.
5. Give back
Successful networking is never about simply getting what you want. It’s about getting what you want and making sure that people who are important to you get what they want, too.
No one likes to constantly give, give, give, without receiving anything in return. Networking is so effective due to the premise – what can we do for each other.
6. Don’t worry if you lose touch
Losing touch with a contact is by no means the end of the relationship. Simply send an email or call them, and say that you want to rekindle the relationship. However, it is wise not to call them out of the blue just to ask for a favour. First, successfully rekindle the relationship, and then naturally ask for the favour you want.
Of course, the best way to not lose touch is to always work at maintaining your network.
Note: For a much more in-depth look at how you can start networking more effectively, click here.
Tags: Career & Work