How to Get the Best Out of Your Networking Experience

How to Get the Best out of your Networking Experience
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The Basics

Even though we’ve seen the word a million times in articles, magazines, blogs, and even Facebook, it is very likely to miss the mark on what “Networking” actually means. Networking entails a great deal of research, gathering of information, staying up-to-date, and interaction with the industry’s most relevant professionals in order to liaise with the appropriate people. The main idea while networking is to make new contacts with the objective of forming mutually beneficial business relationships. Therefore, going to parties, meetings, benefits and events, talking to people about our company or business, exchanging business cards, and displaying social skills is essential.

That being said, one question remains: why go ahead and do business networking? Some entrepreneurs and business owners actually think business networking is a more organic, cost-effective method of getting new clients, unlike advertising. What’s more, business networking can be conducted either in a local business community, or on a larger scale on the Internet through social networks.

Best Practices of a Great Networker

In order to become a networking expert, there are some simple, yet life changing tips that can redirect the course of a company towards business growth and expansion:

  • Always be honest. Showing one’s true colors gains trust, respect and, ultimately, people’s interest.

  • Carry business cards on you at all times. Make sure you provide efficient and quick means of contact, for those potential clients or professional liaisons, as well as other ways to learn more about you and your craft (e.g. portfolio, website, and social media information).

  • Carefully choose potential networking events. Evaluate the different types of events that can offer the best potential liaisons of the industry.

  • Be friendly, but restrained. Putting into practice the right etiquette at the right time can attract the interest of the right people.

  • Be receptive. A good listener is more prone to set meaningful interactions than just a talker.

  • Make the most out of it.Take advantage of any given chance to spread the word about your company, product, services, or even professional interests.

  • Prepare in advance. Knowing the details of the event you’re attending in advance (e.g. possible attendants, the type of event, and the schedule), as well as useful icebreakers to effectively interact with other guests, is a major advantage when networking.

  • Use a one-on-one communication style. This type of interaction increases your chances of setting real, valuable connections with professionals within your industry.

  • Another tool that can be exploited is social media. These online platforms play a very important role in networking nowadays. How so? Social networks help people increase professional opportunities and allow them to expand across the globe and get the word out there about what they do. Having a compelling and consistent online profile in the most relevant social media platforms is an effective way to set promising professional connections in the online world.

    For instance, as an artist, you can find a very powerful networking ally in Instagram and Pinterest, which are designed to feature visual content through images, portfolios, and infographics. On the other hand, Twitter and G+ offer a different set of tools aimed towards microblogging, ideal for writers, bloggers, and journalists. Joining Twitter conversations is also an effective and quick way to reach professional peers and to share your expertise on a specific field. Additionally, there are discussion groups and fan pages that can provide a useful way to connect with others that have similar interests.

    In a few words, the use of social networks is highly encouraged because if you, your company, or your business isn’t on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, it’s probably missing out on a richer, wider network of potential future clients.

    Nany Indriago / NEUVOO
    Online Content Creator