4 Never Fail Networking Tips
In business, as is true in life, networking is the glue that holds it all together. How many times have you thought about who you know or who introduced you to someone who opened doors of opportunities for your personal or professional ventures? There’s no question, life is a contact sport, and the more you play, the better you get. With that in mind, here are four of the best networking tips for keeping you and your small business out front where you need to be.
No. 1: Make It A Value Add
No one likes to waste time. In fact, with so many of us with so little of it, who has any to spare? When you do take a minute or two from someone, you’d better make it count. What does that mean? Well for starters, make every encounter a value add. Instead of taking a business card, ask for an email address. Now you have the right to contact that person and you have an open door for sending your information in something other than a small white card that will most likely be lost, tossed or forgotten. Strategic networking means finding those key opportunities to add value, on both sides.
No. 2: Learn The Art of Being Kind
We were all taught to be kind to others, yet so many of us forget life lessons as we age. Maybe your neighbor is a janitor at the local youth club. Before discounting this networking connection as irrelevant, think about the key people in your life and how they made an impact. Chances are they weren’t all CEO’s waiting for your handshake. Aside from being smart, it’s simply a good human quality to be gracious to all, despite what they can or cannot “do for you”. Besides, you never know who the gas station attendant is married to or who the deli clerk went to school with. Be kind, courteous and respectful to everyone you meet and you’ll be amazed at how many more opportunities you create.
No. 3: Ask Easy Questions And Listen
What to people enjoy doing most? If you said talking about themselves, you’re right. And that’s why asking easy questions and settling back to listen is such a neat trick. When you engage someone about themselves, whether it’s at a party, a conference or otherwise, the tendency is to be candid. You don’t need to do anything at all expect be a good listener to learn about their business, passions, hobbies, their connections, etc. The best way to engage is to simply ask a question and let them carry the conversation. You cannot learn while you are talking. It’s better to pass the baton, listen and take it all in.
No. 4: Smile
A smile is perhaps one of the easiest, yet most overlooked tools to great networking. When you smile, you instantly tear down barriers to communication, put people at ease and set the tone. A smile can turn almost anyone around, at least temporarily and is an ice breaker that never fails. Make certain to smile when entering a room, when meeting someone for the first time or anytime someone speaking to you looks uncomfortable. A smile is an effortless way to be inviting and put yourself and others at ease.
Networking is often the path to success. Who you meet along your journey, and more importantly, how you choose to engage that opportunity will decide how far along the road you go.
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