Networking For Success

What is networking?

It’s often said, ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’.
 Networking | Career Advice
The people you meet today can become your single greatest resource for success tomorrow. No matter who you are or what your goals may be, there will always be someone, somewhere in a position to help you.
The secret is to have as many of those helpers available to draw upon when the need arises. Marketing yourself is an extremely powerful tool in any business and if asked, the majority of people would say that networking is all about “selling yourself” or “working the room” whereas we believe that networking is not only about this but also about building relationships and making yourself a more attractive proposition to other people.

Why should I do it?

With effective networking you can open yourself up to a whole host of opportunities that won’t cost you a penny. It is a great way to promote and market yourself and your business and is a resource to uncover potential clients and progression opportunities. Networking is one skill that you will need to practice and get ahead in, if you want to be a success. It will give you the opportunity to exchange information that could possibly help you within your current role, highlight potential opportunities and give you a fresh outlook and new ideas.
So what can networking do for you?
Networking can help raise your profile with the people in your business (particularly your peers) and is an effective way of getting yourself known within the company.
With effective networking you can expand your list of contacts who in turn could become useful for sharing information when needed.
Networking can help you to identify hidden opportunities and give you a head start over your competition.
Consistent networking will help you overcome any natural shyness you have, your fear for using people and your fear of rejection.
Building your network is an ongoing process. You will need to consistently increase your contacts by attending as many social gatherings, courses or seminars as you possibly can, as well as using your existing network to introduce you to contacts that may be of mutual benefit.

How do I start?

Smile. It's such a simple thing, but creates a huge impact. How many times has your day been brightened by a cheerful smiling face? Make your smile the brightest one in the room and people will be drawn to you.
Dress sharp. A networking event can be a dress rehearsal for a job interview, so you need to sell yourself on appearance as well as your witty conversation…
Blend in – be confident and self-assured. People are more likely to talk to you if you look approachable and interesting.
Have contact cards and a pen handy in order to give others your details (nobody likes waiting around whilst you scurry about for a napkin and a pencil!)

What do we talk about?

Find a common ground.
Know your reason for networking, so that you can get your points across, and sell yourself clearly.
Ask questions. If someone says ‘Sorry, we don't have anything for you right now,’ follow this up with appropriate questions: "Well, what's the outlook for future possibilities? Do you know anyone else in the industry that might be able to help? Any thoughts on what my next step should be?" Persistence shows you are interested, and the other person may be able to refer you to someone who can help.
Frequently, call everybody by his or her name. As Dale Carnegie said, "A person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language." If like most people, you have difficulty remembering names, try this: When you meet someone for the first time, look them in the eye and repeat their name. If you hear yourself saying it, it makes it easier to remember. Try to use their name as often as possible throughout the conversation. When you run into people again, you'll find you're remembering a lot more names.
Keep in mind that people love to receive compliments. Praise as often as possible without sounding insincere.
Give people your undivided attention. People will like you more and be more open with you if they feel you have similar interests. That doesn't necessarily mean you have to be an expert on every subject. Most people love to talk about themselves and their interests. If you give them permission to do that by demonstrating that you are genuinely interested in what they have to say, people will be happy to carry the conversation for you. You'll learn something new, and the person you've been speaking with will come away thinking you're one of the most fascinating conversationalists in the world. Best of all, as they're discussing themselves and their interests, you may just find out how you can help them to achieve their own goals.
Always have an opinion.
Leave on a good note.
Networking done the right way can be extremely rewarding for both yourself and your business, it is a free resource and an excellent way of meeting new contacts, whether it be business or personal. It is under-used and under-valued in today’s society, so move ahead of the game and get yourself out there. You never know, if you become successful at networking, someone may approach you for advice in the future!
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