10 Networking Tips For Beginners – If you ask most business professionals, they’ll tell you that networking is one of the most crucial ingredients to success. However, for those just getting into the networking sphere, it may be difficult to determine the best ways to network with like-minded people. Simply put, networking is about people enjoying each other’s company while communicating passions and connecting with others that enjoy similar passions. So, if you’re having a hard time getting the gist of it, don’t lose hope, it’s super easy and today we have some networking tips to get you started!
10 Networking Tips For Beginners
1. Take advantage of social media
The art of networking doesn’t have to be a face-to-face affair. Everything you need is right at your fingertips. Most entrepreneurs and professionals can attest that they do get lonely and finding time for face-to-face meetups with new people and strangers is difficult. The worst part is sacrificing your time only to be disappointed and find out that you have nothing in common with these people. Nonetheless, social media has come to the rescue of many offering various platforms to choose from. People on these apps share more about their interests and you could pick up some similarities with the strangers you come across. Even if you may not be the most tech-savvy person out there, social media is becoming easier to use every passing day.
To make things more interesting, people are using social media to create clubs and groups with people of common interests. You could also come across various communities within your local area and get to mingle with individuals you never knew existed. If local networking isn’t your thing, social media is your key to cutting those constant expensive flight tickets because you can talk to anyone across the world from the comfort of your own home or office.
If you are ready to start using social media as a networking tool, consider joining multiple Facebook groups with people who share the same interests as you. It will lift your soul and boost your mood when you know you’re not going through your success journey alone. It also gives room for constructive criticism so you know where to improve. The fun part about it is knowing new people and learning about their experiences. Social media is like a big buffet, everybody has a story to tell, and you can absorb pieces of valuable information applicable to your life. While also gaining knowledge about new cultures.
2. Attend Events
Get out of that bubble and attend some local events. Not just any events but those that are designed to help you network within your industry or community. Especially within your local community. Events are a great way to find people within your reach who share similar interests and you can use this opportunity to connect and have conversations. Events make things super easy because the topics seem to be free-flowing and familiar. Depending on the formality of the event, you may use the opportunity to spark up some new clubs or friendships as well as pitch your business or services. If you’re in for the latter, be prepared to carry some business cards be it physical or digital to ensure you increase your business’ client network.
Some business events are so great that you may find yourself presented with the opportunity to present a short sales pitch to the attendees; the idea is that this will create more active working business relationships. These are a great option if you’re looking to gain more clients! With the rise of the internet, and with it; everything going virtual, there are now plenty of virtual networking events. Simply choose the most beneficial to you, and start making life-changing friendships.
3. Always follow through and build trust as you network!
To be honest, this is perhaps where most of us may fail because why would you like to makeover fifty calls to people you exchanged contacts with? Well, the best way to encourage a continuing business relationship is to follow up after every meeting! To be fair, it doesn’t have to be a voice call but you could consider writing a note, shooting a thank-you text, or emailing. When reaching out, ensure to express how good it was to meet with them.
Even if the meeting didn’t go as planned, it’s nice to follow up and thank them for meeting anyway. Doing this, aids in building trust within your network because when you’re actively taking the time to thank people for spending their time with you, you begin to establish deeper relationships and a feeling of trust. Just ensure you keep your word and put effort into the relationship.
4. Continuously improve yourself
Good attracts good and if you constantly concentrate on making yourself better, you will attract the best. Don’t focus so much on networking that you neglect your personal growth. Not every connection you make is worth maintaining if it’s bringing you down. Recall the first day of school or work, you got along with some people due to similar interests. It was like an instant pull but if you constantly improve yourself, you will find that you are bringing out the best in yourself and creating a more attractive and interesting persona. This means that your likes will attract individuals who are also great like you are, thus making more positive connections.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to be true and open about what you’re going through to avoid false connections. There are over seven billion people in this world. It might be overwhelming to find a group that resonates with you but don’t fret because that’s only the beginning. Go out, be better every day and the right people will come to you! As harsh as it may sound, you may need to do an inventory of your current relationships. Are they people who are bringing you down or elevating you? You may have to choose between comfort or growth. Sometimes the two are relative.
5. Become more active on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the place for social media clout but business professionals. Quite honestly, it’s a godsend. If you don’t know much about it, LinkedIn is specifically engineered to help you network. On LinkedIn, you can connect with people you know personally or professionally and share articles or posts related to your business.
Most of the users use the platform to find advice, create and see job postings, get motivation, and be in the loop with events in their area too! Just like most of the other social media platforms, the more active you are on LinkedIn, the more connections you’re likely to have. Sparing some time to post regularly every week or so will increase your engagement. Before you know it, the algorithm will pick up trends and interests and you’ll begin to see more content from people with similar goals or skills as you. It’s one of the best ways to meet people and form business relationships!
6. Take any opportunity to meet people
As mentally exhausting as it may sound, you may not know who is like-minded until you make it a habit of getting to know people on a more personal level. I mean, they could be anywhere! It could even be a random cashier that you may have constantly ignored only to discover that you shared similar interests.
The takeaway is, that every person you come across is an opportunity to make friends. Even if you’re more likely to find like-minded people at events related to specific interests, you might still meet a soul-sister or soul-brother anywhere! Networking itself is an art so don’t narrow down the palette by only choosing colors you’re used to. Explore and make sure to meet a lot of people.
7. Never dismiss anyone as unimportant
Yes, I can’t put enough emphasis on this. Since meeting a lot of people is the mission, make it your mission to discover the value in each person you talk to. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and listen with interest. Networking is about learning about people for who they are and not their titles. Someone you meet may “just” be a day guard, but they may have valuable connections or knowledge you’d never learn about if you’d dismissed them.
The beauty of networking is that small talk is indeed important and most connections thrive from small talk. It’s not really about the words we use or what we talk about. It’s about signaling that we’re friendly and open to conversation. When you say “How was your weekend?”, what you’re saying is “I’m friendly and up for talking with you”. It could go on and on but when the conversation ends, just remember what that person has to offer, as you move to the next person.
8. Stick to your word
The thing about networking events is telling people you’ll get in touch. Do it and reaffirm your intent to assist in any way you can. If at the event you promised to introduce someone to a person you know, take the time to do it. I understand that life can get busy and everyone is handling personal matters but it takes no more than a minute to shoot off an email to introduce two people you want to connect with.
Your work here is being the bridge and the two can pick it off and do the work on their own. It may not seem like much but little things like that mean a lot to people and just one introduction can end up changing someone’s life for the better. You’ll feel like someone’s guardian angel, literally.
9. Join an online community related to your interest
We already mentioned social media as a great tool for finding people with similar interests but communities exist outside the major social media platforms. For example, Reddit is powerful as it has uncountable subreddits for very specific interests. There are plenty of forums you can join and share your opinions. All you have to do is search for anything related to your interest and be active in that community by posting and commenting.
After a few weeks of constant engagement, people start taking note of your name. It’s as effective as seeing someone’s face again and again in real life. Users feel like they know you when they see your nickname over and over. The upside to this is that you can make friends even if you feel uncomfortable meeting strangers at live meetups. Once again, technology to the rescue!
10. Have a plan
Before you dive right in, understand what you can bring to the table. You must understand your value and worth before making random connections. Have a plan of how your talents, strengths, skill sets, and connections can help the next person. Also, before attending any networking event, map out what you want to talk about and what you wish to benefit from the connections you pursue. Having a plan will also help you stay on course and avoid some awkward situations.