How to network effectively? This is a question which keeps cropping up time and time again. In this blog post, I will give you the 6 number of essentials you need to network effectively.
How to network effectively
Remember that effective business networking is all about finding, building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships. It’s not about how much business you win via your network. If you have the right relationships in place, then business will flow from and via your network.
Essential number 1: Know who you want to meet
The biggest mistake I see people make with their networking is not having the right people in your network. If you want to network effectively, before you start spending any time on building or nurturing your network, clearly identify who you need in your network, and why, to help you achieve your business and career goals.
Essential number 2: Have a networking strategy
Far too often people turn up to the equivalent of the ‘opening of an envelope’ because it will be good for their profile or reputation. I have once driven over 100 miles (and I do not like driving long distances) after a long day with a client, just to meet one particular person. However, I knew exactly why I needed to do this and why it was important. I also achieved my objective for being at this particular event. Your networking strategy will set out:
- what you want to achieve as a result of your network and networking activities
- how you will achieve your goals as a result of your network and networking activities
- how you will meet and nurture the right relationships in your network
- in short, how you will network effectively
Essential number 3: Make sure your online profile and footprint is current and up-to-date
One of the things which has changed in the last few years is the importance of your online footprint. Most people are far more likely to meet you now online before in the flesh. They will be influenced by the quality and credibility of your online profile BEFORE they decide to meet you.
Essential number 4: Follow up, follow up, follow up
As I mentioned in the earlier point, it’s no longer about what happens in the room. If you want to network effectively, you need to know that it is about what happens outside of the room. Therefore, make sure for all your key contacts you have a relationship plan and diarised dates for next steps for all your relationship plans.
Essential number 5: Focus
Far too often people do too much networking activity, for little notional return. To keep your networking fit for purpose, the aim is to do less rather than more.
Essential number 6: Get comfortable working the room
You are always going to need to be able to meet people and ‘work a room’. Whilst I’d like to think differently, this is the reality you will be faced with at conferences, internal firm events etc. Therefore, use our guide to confidently working the room to build your expertise and skill at making the best use of your time and meeting the right people at events.
What else would you add to this list?