Networking skills are an invaluable asset you should aspire to have. Note that having networking skills doesn’t simply refer to you being a good communicator or conversationalist. It may include that. But you don’t necessarily have to be an excellent talker to be a good networker. From this article, you will learn some ways to Improve Your Business Networking Skills.
Networking skills will certainly help you advance in your career. Whether you’re already employed or looking for employment, you need networks. The truth is, no one is omniscient. Different people may know and have access to certain resources or relationships that could benefit you. You, too, may have resources and relationships that may benefit others. When you’re well connected, you have access to several people and resources you otherwise wouldn’t have.
Therefore, you need to build a strong network. You never know who has the key or keys to your next breakthrough. But it all starts with being able to network effectively. Below is a guide on how you can improve your networking skills.
Here are the Best 5 Ways To Improve Your Business Networking Skills
1. Use Different Platforms
While you could still connect with people directly or physically, say at an event or gathering, technology now allows you to establish connections digitally. Gone are the days when if you wanted to connect with people, you had to call or meet them physically. In addition, you can now communicate with people via messaging, e-mail, social media, and video chats, among many other channels. You can even share your digital business cards through any of these online mediums. Therefore, if you want to be a great networker, you must be great at using the various platforms available to you.
Social media is one of the easiest ways to network. Social media applications are designed for different age groups and audiences. If you check online, you’ll find platforms geared toward professionals and others aimed at content creators. Simply choose the appropriate ones for you. Knowing how to use any of those platforms will improve your networking success.
2. Improve Your Listening Skills
Listening skills are fundamental traits great communicators possess. Communication isn’t just about being an eloquent speaker. You can’t be an excellent communicator if you don’t know how to listen effectively. Some people are naturally good listeners. But others may have to learn how to listen properly.
Effective communication entails successfully imparting information to the next person. For that exchange to happen, attention is required. People may not want to listen to what you have to say if you don’t listen to what they’re saying. So it’s extremely important to be an active listener. You must show that you’re listening to the other person’s words.
When you get a chance to network at an event, realize that this isn’t the time to babble about your thoughts or achievements. You don’t want to do this if you’re trying to pitch an idea to someone or looking to get their details. A good exchange will be balanced, giving either party chance to speak and respond. So make sure that your listening skills are on point.
3. Exude Positivity
Generally, people want to associate with or be around positive individuals. Some people are more effective at developing relationships simply because they have a positive attitude. Such people are very likable and can easily befriend anyone.
Simply said, happiness is attractive. Plus, a happy person exudes a lot of confidence which works in their favor in their day-to-day interactions. So when you’re pitching to investors, you want to do it with a positive attitude. This may tilt the cards in your favor because if you’re optimistic about your ideas, it gives other people an incentive to believe that to be true.
Some people are generally more upbeat than others. That’s a natural advantage they have. But you don’t necessarily have to be upbeat to be a positive individual. Besides, you can learn how to be positive. Positivity is more about perspective and state of mind. You can teach yourself to see things positively. It’s about seeing the good in bad situations. It could also be about not taking yourself too seriously. Being positive makes you likable and this will help you develop relationships.
4. Attend Networking Events
One of the best ways to improve your networking skills is to attend networking events. These could be held physically or virtually. Virtual events are becoming quite popular nowadays. Attending these events will help you to familiarize yourself with what networking is all about. It also helps you to hone your skills without putting too much pressure on yourself. Remember, everyone is attending such events to network, so you won’t be alone. It may be easier to strike up conversations with like-minded individuals.
You want to make every interaction as productive as possible. Bring your authentic self to the table and show that you’re engaged in every conversation. Also, don’t forget to maintain good eye contact. If you’re not much of a talker, learn to be inquisitive. Asking people questions is a good way to initiate conversations. Find out their interests or hobbies and ask questions about them. Usually, people don’t mind talking about things they’re passionate about.
Remember, at the end of the day, networking isn’t about knowing thousands of people. It’s more about quality than quantity. It’s better to have ten quality connections than a thousand sub-par connections.
5. Have An Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch is still very relevant in terms of establishing networks. Remember that first impressions matter. Sometimes, you’ll only have a few seconds to make a good impression on an investor or prospective employer. Therefore, you need a solid elevator pitch that you can use in any interaction.
For example, if you attend a networking event and manage to come up to a senior staff member during the five-minute break, pull out your elevator pitch there. It has to be concise. Plus, you have to exude confidence in the process. Practice your elevator pitch so that you know it by heart. You may get it wrong the first time. But, if you attend networking events, you give yourself a chance to practice and improve.
The importance of having networks can’t be overstated. The truth is, people are as valuable as the connections they possess. While it’s good to possess your sense of individuality, realize that in the world, you’ll need other people to help you to get to where you want to be. Conversely, other people need the talents and connections you have. Therefore, being an effective networker is important. Networking skills can be acquired by anyone who is willing to learn. Some people may have natural advantages, but nothing beats practice. Polish up your communication skills and practice your elevator pitch until you know it by heart.