Networking can seem like an incredibly awkward activity, but it doesn’t have to be that way! You can use networking opportunities to make new connections and get your name out there—and it doesn’t hurt that networking can actually be beneficial to your career. Here are five ways you can turn networking into something that works for you.
1. Focus on other people
The best way to ensure that networking makes you money? Put other people first. Instead of pouncing on every opportunity to make a sale, focus your networking efforts on helping others grow their business. Once you’ve done that, it’s natural that opportunities will come your way. After all, who knows better what an organization needs than someone who’s been there? So listen intently and let those around you know you want them to succeed. It might not seem like you’re making progress toward your goals at first but trust us: Your time will come.
And when it does, you’ll be glad you took a moment to help someone else reach theirs. For example, you could mention a person in another department that is working on a new project or initiative. Then ask if they need any additional support from your team (without being pushy). This is more subtle than asking if they have any projects coming up and then offering yourself as an option.
Your job as a networker is to build relationships with other people so they can see how valuable you are to their success and provide recommendations down the road using networking devices.
2. Try multiple types of network events
Not all networking events are created equal. Some cater primarily to specific demographics, while others may draw a more diverse group of professionals. Think about your industry, who you want to meet, and how you want your relationship with them to develop—and then choose events that match those goals. For example, if you’re looking to get into consulting or investment banking, attending a career fair is probably your best bet.
If you’re looking to build relationships with C-level executives in high-growth industries, it might be worth investing in an event hosted by an association like The Executives’ Club or the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD). There are many other options out there; do some research and find one that fits what you’re trying to accomplish.
3. Talk About Your Goals
Whether you’re looking for a new job, trying to get funding, or planning to start your own business, networking can help you make important connections. Think about it—if you went on vacation without having planned where you were going, where would you end up? The same goes for networking. Talk with people and tell them what your goals are; tell them what you want and why they should help you. If you need funding, explain how much money you need and how long it will take to pay back their investment. If you need a job, let people know that too!
4. Show Up Even When You Don’t Want To
The worst thing you can do when networking is not shown up. Remember that nobody wants to be your friend more than you do. If you say you’re going to meet someone and then don’t, they won’t want to reschedule with you—and they won’t want to invest in your future either. Showing up even when you don’t feel like it or have other things on your mind will go a long way toward making people feel good about working with you.
It also means that if something better comes along at some point down the road, they might think of you first because they know what kind of person you are. Finally, showing up consistently over time builds trust—which makes it easier for people to share their own opportunities with you later on down the line.
5. Don’t be afraid to connect with your boss
The easiest way to meet people and make connections is through your supervisor. And, contrary to popular belief, your boss probably isn’t going to fire you if he or she sees you networking with clients. There are many ways that bosses benefit from their employees being out there in the community: It helps keep employees happy and informed about what’s going on; it also allows them more accessible within a company if they want a promotion or want to try something new—and it helps companies grow. So don’t be afraid to network outside of work. It can only help you in your career.
Also read; networking https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_network