Networking is a necessity for everyone in the working world. Networking applies to all fields, from manufacturing to academics. Not everyone understands how to optimize networking to assure success and build positive working relationships. Christian Deslauriers, an attorney, and entrepreneur, breaks down the basics of networking and shows how it can help everyone succeed.
Start with the Right Attitude
Some people may not enjoy networking. It may be difficult to feel that you are putting yourself on a stage where you will be judged by others. Even if you are skittish about networking, a positive attitude is crucial. Thinking about networking as a necessary evil may hinder you from making quality connections. People can sense whether your heart is in it, and they will be turned off by insincerity.
Don’t Be Too Pushy
Some people approach networking like speed dating. This can be a major problem. The goal of networking is not shaking as many hands and distributing as many business cards as possible. The goal is to make authentic connections with others which will benefit your working life. Pushing too hard will only make people uncomfortable.
Dress for Success
Dress for networking as you would for a job interview. Wearing professional attire means that your attitude will change. It also sends the message to your prospective friends and clients that you are a professional who takes his or her work seriously. If you stand out in a crowd, so much the better. People are attracted to those who are polished and put together.
Understand Your Goals
Before you attend a networking event, take some time to write down the goals you would like to achieve. You must know exactly what you do and how to explain it. You won’t be able to articulate your goals without some prior preparation. Whether you are networking in hopes of getting a new job or attracting business for your existing job, your goals will change.
Spend Time with the Right People
If you find that you have encountered a person who is not going to be able to help you with your goals, kindly disengage from their conversation and find someone else to talk with. Practice the art of assessing whether the person you are speaking with has value. It may be that a chatty conversation with lots of personal anecdotes is helping you achieve your goals, and it may be that you need to leave that kind of conversation for another day.
Listen Before Talking
While it is tempting to go around the room and give your pitch to everyone, it pays off to take some time to listen. If you come on too strong, people will be annoyed and will discount your contributions. Take the time to listen and to ask good questions. People will appreciate your thoughtful demeanor and will be more likely to listen to you when it is your turn to talk.
What happens after you attend the networking event is as important as the event itself. If you have told others that you will contact them, do so. Ignoring a simple request gives the impression that you are an uncaring individual who does not take the time to help others. You may be able to develop these contacts into beneficial business relationships, but without follow-through, you will be left with only a handful of business cards.
Focus on Helping Others
When you attend a networking event, consider not only your own advantage but also consider the needs of others. Helping a new acquaintance make a connection will benefit you as well. Offering professional help will make you come across as a kind and thoughtful individual, raising your profile in others’ eyes.
Network for Success
When you follow these networking tips from Christian DesLauriers, you will be able to build meaningful relationships with other business professionals in your area. Take these principles into consideration before your next networking event, and you will find that your connections grow, and you have a greater advantage going forward.