Many people take the journey into starting their own business or advancing in their current position. Although, being knowledgeable about your job is very important, understand that who you know is just as important.
Networking, as probably best defined by Wikipedia, ” is a socioeconomic business activity by which business people and entrepreneurs meet to form business relationships and to recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities share information and seek potential partners for ventures.” Pretty simple right? The more you engage with like minds the more you can increase your network or team.
Some may call it “sucking” up but it really is nothing like that. Being able to articulate the main points about your business or occupation and the willingness to be personable can open up so many possibilities. No one wants to work with someone who is unapproachable or who acts as if they do not need any advice or assistance. You do not have to alter yourself to genuinely be able to show someone why you are good at what you do and that they should keep in touch with you. Word of mouth is always a great way to grow in business.
Are you networking effectively? The following are a few things you should consider:
1. Don’t be afraid to provide or take contact information. Do not engage in a strong conversation and leave with nothing. Provide and take business cards. Exchange emails and phone numbers. Label with job or company descriptions.
2. Follow up. Once you receive contact information, use it. It doesn’t have to be a long email or phone call but it will let people know you remember them. They will remember you for it.
3. Engage. Do not wait for people to always talk to you. Speak first. If they speak first, then engage. That person may be able to lead you to someone or something else that will be extremely helpful to you.
4. Learn to barter. Everyone has something to offer and it’s not always monetary. Learn when to assess that value. The exchange of services is just as rewarding as the exchange of cash.
5. Position yourself for the right opportunities. Join groups that encourage networking. Attend events in relation to your business or career. Attend Chamber of Commerce events. Do not just sit on social media and expect everything to come to you. There’s so much more you can do.
Always remember your network is your net worth. As your network grows, you will truly understand the power in that statement.