The Secret to Making Networking Work

Some people love it while others hate it, but it can’t be denied that networking is an essential part of business and socialization. This is how you form meaningful relationships with other people, whether they’re your clients, business partners, colleagues or even your bosses.

But there is such a thing as networking the right way. You want to make sure that you network effectively, which means connecting with the other person in a good way. You don’t want to leave anyone feeling used and abused in your attempts to make that person a part of your network.

As you know, people remember how you make them feel. The interaction between the two of you becomes the basis for your relationship. Here are some tips to help you effectively network and connect with other people.

1. Be yourself

Don’t attempt to be someone you’re not. People are a lot smarter these days, and no one likes talking to someone who appears artificial or fake. In networking situations, remember that people typically enjoy being informal and relaxed. So you don’t have to have a script ready whenever people talk to you. What’s better is to be spontaneous and genuine – show off the real you.
Most people don’t really do business with just anybody – they would only do so with people whom they really know and genuinely like. So be authentic; show off who you really are, and you may be surprised that you are able to connect more with people.

2. Be friendly and approachable

The key to networking effectively is to be friendly. You don’t have to be the life of the party, but you should look approachable, introduce yourself to people, and listen attentively when someone speaks to you. When you make people feel good around you, then they will flock to you more.

3. Be interested in what other people are saying

Though you may be networking to increase your business contacts or clients, it shouldn’t always be about you. You should also listen and appear interested in what the other person is saying – don’t be one-dimensional.
The great thing about networking is engaging in two-way conversations with other people, so it becomes a win-win situation. So even if you’re promoting yourself, your business or product, make sure that you do this sparingly and within the context of the conversation.

4. Think quality, not quantity

Though the more people you know, the merrier you may be, when it comes to networking, quality is more important than quantity. Knowing and connecting with the few right people is a lot more important than creating less meaningful relationships with dozens of people.

When you network, whether for personal and professional reasons, it’s important that you be yourself, be approachable, be interested in what other people are saying, and think quality, not quantity. Sometimes, it’s not even about what you tell other people – more people will remember you by how they felt interacting with you, so make sure that you make them feel good and not used or abused.