Networking is one of the lesser appreciated talents that the world’s most successful entrepreneurs have mastered. It is not an easy skill, either. Knowing how to network is a fine line between making friends and actively seeking out business partnerships. You cannot become best friends with everyone you meet, after all, but you do need to make a good enough connection to trade favors with each other. Reaching that stage can be incredibly difficult because if you aren’t careful people will only see your efforts as wanting of something. To properly master the art that is networking, try adopting these top five tips.
Skip the Sales Speech
If you go into any new relationship with a goal to sell products or gain a favor, you will most likely fail. Only a very few people have mastered their charm to the point where people will be willing to help out or buy something new from the get-go, especially if they weren’t expecting you. So, skip the sales speech and instead start a conversation. It is far easier to connect with someone in an organic conversation than it is if you give them an elevator pitch.
Help First, Ask Later
One of the easiest tips to follow and arguably one of the best is to find out what you can do for someone else. Be proactive about networking. This way will help you make connections, diversify your portfolio and skills, and of course give you an acquaintance you can later ask for help. You don’t need to be best friends with people, but you do need to foster mutually beneficial relationships.
Take Notes and Keep Track
Try as best you can to keep track of information about the person in question. Keeping notes in your contacts app can help you stay in touch and give the personal touch all at the same time. Try to keep track of both corporate information (their job position, who they work for, etc.) as well as personal information (if they have allergies, for example). People respond when they feel like you care.
Another way to network is to collaborate. This way you can put effort into fostering one relationship, and then meet others in that niche or industry in a far more organic way – being introduced. As a bonus, you will also be working in a new field or project on the side that can further your career and show your ambition.
Host Your Own Event
Finally, consider hosting your own event. If you are a consultant or own business, for example, you can organize an event, create a great atmosphere, offer free drinks served by professional bartenders from services such as eventbartenders.com, and get key people from your industry to attend. Then, as the host, you can get to know each and every one of them with a position of authority. They will be interested in knowing you because you took the initiative to create a great event everyone in your industry will be talking about. In turn, you can make new business relationships and connections.
Networking is a never-ending task, but it should never be seen as a chore. Instead, connect with people. Try to gain insight from them, help them, collaborate, and even host them. By doing this you not only network with people, but you set yourself up as a huge name in your industry.