network successfully

Network Successfully With These 5 Tips

Most professionals know that networking opens doors to career growth. However, the ability to network successfully doesn’t come naturally to everyone. For you, it may feel like a chore.

If you consider yourself a shy or solitary person, you may avoid networking. Maybe you’ve even attended networking events only to stand in the corner.

However, once you change your mindset, growing a great network becomes attainable even for the most introverted careerist. Follow these tips to network successfully from now on!


Start Simple

Ramit Sethi, bestselling author and CEO, provides good advice for people who “hate networking.” Start by simply introducing your friends to each other.

We all have family and friend connections who may find each other helpful. When you think of your friends and their needs, you may find that you already know someone else who can help them out.

This technique lets you build connections and start strengthening your network. You don’t even have to go out and spend time at networking events.

Look for potential networking opportunities everywhere. Whether you’re working a trade show, a street fair, or just having lunch with colleagues, make it a point to connect with people.


Choose Quality Connections Over Quantity

It’s true that you never know which of your connections will help you. And of course, you should treat everyone with kindness. However, it’s also true that some connections are much more valuable than others.

Handing out your business card out at an event will probably result in few if any true relationships. Just one real, personal connection with someone who truly needs your professional help will prove much more valuable in the hundreds who pocket your business card at a conference.

Take the pressure off of yourself to meet dozens of people at huge events. One-on-one meetings can yield more valuable results.


Focus on Personal Connection

Some of us do better than others at talking to people we’ve never met. Especially if you’re at a professional event or conference, you might tend to focus on business topics or stay buttoned-up. But true connections come when we allow ourselves to share on a deeper level.

In FastCompany, CEO Nnena Ukuku describes getting a job from someone she connected with “on a heart level” simply from meeting at a bar. She suggests always aiming for the “person to person” connection.


Create a Strategy

You wouldn’t start a new business venture or project without concrete goals. Your networking efforts are no different. Networking gets easier when you think through specifically what you want out of your business relationships.

Keith Ferrazzi, the author of the networking classic Never Eat Alone, suggests creating a “relationship action plan.” He says to identify your “key constituencies.” He suggests updating the plan regularly to reflect your current needs.


Add Value

It’s natural to approach networking wondering how others can help you reach your own goals.

Whether you’re searching for a mentor, a job, or potential new hire, the natural inclination is to seek people who can help you.

But building a valuable network can only happen when you focus on the needs of others. Consider what you can offer to benefit their professional or personal lives.

As Ferrazzi wrote on LinkedIn, “At the core of every relationship is generosity: Reaching out to other people to be of service. Generosity builds relationship strength quickly.”


Review these tips often, and create your personalized plan to network successfully. It becomes easier with practice. You never know how you will benefit from the connections that await you.


PHOTO: Flazingo Photos / CC 2.0

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