Want to succeed in building your network? Here's what you should do.
Networking is something that resides in every one of us, no matter the varying importance it plays in our lives. Though we often neglect and almost take it for granted, networking is an essential technique to learn in order to survive in the working world especially in an ever-changing environment like Singapore.
Here are 5 networking tips which highlight what we should avoid and can improve on to become a successful networker.
1. Connect, Don't Sell
Networking is all about building relationships. The idea is to find a connection in one another, not taking a sales approach. As the saying goes, people love to buy but hate to be sold to. As a result, you may be exhausting opportunities, refraining you from referrals. Keep your exchange light and pleasant, taking time to cultivate the relationship. Only then would it be advised to prepare a brief description of your product or service to a potential customer. Remember —people tend to do business with those whose company they find enjoyable.
2. Think Ahead
Planning and setting goals is essential in networking. Figure out who will be present at the event; The connections you aim to make may depend on their specific professions. Understand the focus of the event as it directs your decisions on whom to connect with and have a clear picture on what you desire at the end. By thinking ahead, you will be on firm ground on what you do and what others can do to help you.
With zero follow up, comes zero success in networking. While it takes time to nurture and invest in the other person, the heightened credibility and trust increase the chance for strong business relationships. Ask for the best way to stay in touch, whether it be email, phone or social networks. Make contact within 2 days of the event to present yourself as available and memorable.
4. Listen and Learn
A critical part of connecting with someone is to show genuine interest. Don't just hear, but listen to people. Prepare a series of questions you would like to ask and take notes of key points to refer back to when you follow up. Small cues such as keeping eye contact and shifting your body towards them show your engagement, while a balanced ratio of talking and listening will put you in a much more favourable light.
5. Be Open
Making assumptions about a group or a person is a mistake we often do. We walk into an event assessing one's image to the likelihood of receiving referrals or becoming a potential client. But we never know who knows who. Start conversations, develop relationships and be open to meeting a range of people.