Throughout your career you will hear “build your network.” Why is this saying so engraved in our brains as business professionals? It’s because networking is a business professional’s most powerful resource and foundation for a successful career. Every professional should know how to properly network and meet others in their space. There are many different avenues to building your network including: networking events, informal interviews, conferences, going to see guest speakers, and even weddings. Remember, any kind of social interaction could be turned into your next networking opportunity.
How To Be Successful at a Networking Event
Have your elevator pitch ready. When attending networking events, you have to keep in mind that everyone is meeting a handful of new people every day. Most of the time people will not remember everyone they met. The trick is to make yourself memorable, or as Seth Godin says, “be the purple cow.” In order to gain good insight from the conversation and make a lasting impression, make sure you have an elevator pitch and a bank of questions ready to go. Being prepared will show others that you are interested in connecting with them and value their time.
Present Yourself Well
In order to make a good first impression, be authentic to yourself and your personal brand, have a smile on your face, use appropriate tone and body language, and make sure you are dressed professionally. It is important to remember you are representing not only yourself but the company you work for.
Put Yourself Out There
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Professionals are always looking to build their network and meet others in their space. Networking can be intimidating at times but know the other party could be getting just as much out of the connection as you. Your network will never grow to the maximum potential if you don’t take leaps to put yourself out there. Missed connections translate into missed opportunities.
Benefits of Growing Your Network
Building a network takes time. Some of the most successful business professionals have gotten to where they are today because they have learned to leverage their network and use it to their advantage. Here are just a few benefits of utilizing and growing your network.
Sharing expertise and learning things from other business professionals is a valuable tool. Seeing what others are up to in the market can help you identify areas of opportunity and areas that need improvement. Your network is there as an aid to your business. Make sure you utilize it and learn from others in the space. Networking encourages professionals to share their expertise and industry knowledge. An important thing to remember is that networking should be approached selflessly. You are there to help the other person, rather than the other way around. Your network is a mutually beneficial relationship, utilize it.
Building your network will help you increase visibility in your market. Make sure to follow relevant pages and like and comment on posts you find intriguing. This will lead to others seeing your name and will help build your brand awareness. Branding is such an important aspect of the business world and you can spread brand awareness through using your network. The more recognizable you are amongst businesses the more credibility you will have.
Growing your network leads to business growth. Increasing visibility and growing brand awareness makes your products or services more reputable, which leads to more sales. In addition, your network can help you build a customer base and gain loyal followers. A network helps share marketing materials, general information about the brand, and increases SEO. All of these are great tools for growing your business.