The basics of networking

Check out this beginners guide to networking

We’ve all heard the phrase, “it’s not what you know but who you know”. But how do you find the people you need to know? It’s all about networking. So don’t be shy, get out there and meet your business network.

Attend industry events

Get out and about to industry events and meet new people. Find out if there are any conferences, workshops or other relevant industry events happening in your area and attend them to meet some of your industry peers. You’ll meet people that you may never have met through your day-to-day work routine but that may be able to help you in business. 

Be yourself while networking

The most important part of networking is to be yourself. People will value your honesty and will be more likely to want to stay in touch with you, help you out, and introduce you to other people in their networks.

Don’t ask for much

Get to know a person, not what a person can do for you. Your networks will be more valuable and have greater longevity if you don’t spend all your time asking people for things. A favour must be earned, so build up a business relationship filled with respect before asking for any kind of assistance.

Offer to help others

The one common ingredient in most successful relationships, personal or professional, is give and take. If you spot an opportunity to do them a favour, or to provide them with any kind of assistance, then get in touch and offer them your help. They might be more likely to help you in return at a later date because you’ve established your interest in giving as much as taking.

Follow up on your network contacts

If you meet someone new at an industry event, make sure to follow up by getting in touch with an email or phone call to let them know you enjoyed meeting them. Mention the conversation you had, and extend an offer to catch up for coffee or lunch to continue the conversation and hopefully find some shared value from your discussion and mutual resources. And in the spirit of the digital age, make sure to connect with your new business acquaintance on social media. But remember to keep it business appropriate by using a professional networking site like LinkedIn, or a work appropriate account on your other social sites. 

Expand your interests

Think outside the box, and attend events outside of your professional field. You might meet important business connections through activities that appeal to your hobbies and interests outside of work, like sporting clubs or community groups.

Be brave

Have the confidence to place yourself in new and different social situations. Be brave and introduce yourself to people you’ve never met before. Get out there and start growing your network!

Top tips to improve your networking:

Get out there! Attend industry events and introduce yourself to people you don't know. Remember to follow up and stay in touch with any new contacts
It's all about give and take - this key networking ingredient will allow you to spot opporunities to offer someone some assistance
Fortune favours the brave - by placing yourself in new and different social situations you'll have a better chance of meeting a more diverse group of people

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