Of all the things taught to us in schools and universities, they left out business networking?
But is it really that important? Let me answer in a few questions that you may have asked yourself before.
“Hey, I am more qualified than Sarah, but how much she’s getting that promotion?”
“What, Clark the dropout got hired? I didn’t even get a call for an interview!”
“That dude don’t even know shit about the company products, but he is breaking the quarterly sales records again? That’s 3 quarters in a row! How is he getting all those sales?”
Yup, in business, it’s not just what you know, but who you know. I will even add, it’s who knows you!
At the initial stages of your career, it’s okay to not have it, but as you progress up the career ladder, it becomes a real difference maker. Whether you are in sales, marketing, PR or just relationship building, being able to network at any event, conference or seminar will determine your professional, and person success.
And if you fire up event directories like Eventbrite and Meetup, there are tons of avenues for you to hone your networking skills. I would say some of them are safe places to practice too.
But I’m not gonna leave you without some tips. As a matter of fact, here are three for you to start off.
TIP 1 | Start with the right compliment
Let’s face it; everybody likes a compliment, especially a good one. But here’s the secret: The really good compliments? They are always about the person. For example, telling someone they have a nice shirt shows that you have good taste in fashion. That’s still about you, not about them.
Instead, try this. Tell the person that they make the shirt look good. Now, that’s a compliment about them! Catch the difference?
TIP 2 | The right questions unlock all doors
Asking questions is key if you want to get the best out of any networking events. It also gives you insights on the person, allowing you to expand deeper into the conversation. Ask them about their honest opinions on matters and issues, listen attentively and respect their views. Even if you disagree, don’t get into a debate here! The main idea here is to make them feel important.
Plus, it’s not a contest of ego, so there’s no need to show them how much you know. John Maxwell once told me this:
“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
TIP 3 | Learn how to play “host”
Truth is, everybody may have their unwarranted fears about meeting new people. The world is filled with more introverts than you think. Once you have broken the ice with someone, bring in a new person into the conversation and introduce each other. This is how the great host and hostess of parties make you feel welcomed at their parties. And chances are, the actual host/hostess will love you so much for being a “connector” of the event!
So there you have it! I have a seperate guide for introverts on how to network with a boss, but that’s in another post.
Try out one of the tips here and let me know how it works out. Of course, if you have any secrets tricks, feel free to add in the comment here too.