Networking?

Photo: brooke cagle / unsplash

Relationships play an important role in both personal and professional life. The right contacts can open doors and create opportunities. But how exactly does one proceed with networking? We’ll give you tricks and ideas for networking and tips on how to make fruitful contacts.

Networking tips – how to get the right people

Who actually belongs to my network? Who should I approach and what should I focus on when networking? If you are networking, you obviously need the right contacts. Who belongs to the right contacts depends on your goals and your industry. Basically, however, you can focus on the following people:

  • Talk to people who have similar goals
  • Reach out to people who have achieved what you want to achieve

If people have similar goals as you, then you can inspire each other. You team up with people who have similar problems, have similar experiences and draw their insights from them. People with a similar backgroundd have solutions for problems you are facing or vice versa. Exchange and inspiration inspire. Keep this group as small and manageable as possible. Within this group you can exchange information about employers, companies, work experiences, salaries, further education and events. Make an agreement in advance that everything discussed will stay within this group. People who have already achieved what you want to achieve should be part of your network. You can like Mentors be for you or they see in you a worthy successor. These people can draw on a wealth of experience and can support you with important insider knowledge.

Networking tips - how to network effectively / Photo: marc olivier jodoin / unsplash

Networking tips – how to network effectively / Photo: marc olivier jodoin / unsplash

Networking Tips – Finding the Right Occasions

You want to network and you also need tips for it? You can network both online and offline. It depends on your preferences which way you prefer to go. Depending on where you work, there are a number of different events at which you can offline networks can build up. The following events, for example, are suitable for establishing contacts:

  • Fairs
  • Further education and training
  • Professional presentations
  • Professional forums
  • Trade associations
  • Regulars’ tables for your own industry

If you want to deepen your internal contacts with your colleagues and make more connections here, meet others for lunch, take advantage of company sports, and participate in company parties and events.

Maybe you’re too shy for face-to-face contact or there are few suitable networking events, in which case you can also network online. An exchange can take place, for example, via career networks such as LinkedIn or Xing. You can also keep in touch via these networks. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are also suitable for exchanges. Choose the platforms that suit you and your industry. Ideally, you will use both offline and online networking to establish and maintain contacts.

Networking tips – how to build your network

You now know which people you want to address. Unfortunately, a network does not build itself. Unless you are a natural networker. This also exists. You’re not a natural at networking, so you definitely need tips? Then, when networking, these tips will help you:

  • Be aware of your body language: if you are at a networking event, maintain eye contact, smile and lean forward. Your body language should signal open-mindedness. When you walk through the room, please always head for a destination. You must always show that you know exactly where you want to go.
  • You need a strategy: the best way to prepare is to find out something about the person you want to connect with. Think about what questions you could use to start the conversation at a networking event and look for common ground. Ideally, you offer something. Maybe you can provide a good contact or research information? Whatever is useful for your counterpart, you offer it. This leaves a good impression. In everything you do, you should proceed cautiously. You must not open the door to new ideas. In addition, you should refer people, be reliable, ask meaningful questions, and make it easy for people to connect with you.
  • Attend networking events: At these events you present yourself from your best side. Introduce yourself, shake hands, be positive and pleasant and always have enough business cards with you. You should allow yourself breaks in between. Networking is hard work and a short breather is refreshing.

Networking tips - here's how to get the right people / Photo: windows / unsplash

Networking tips – here’s how to get the right people / Photo: windows / unsplash

Networking tips – this is how even networking opponents succeed

Not everyone is open to networking and tips on how to do it. There are people who really hate networking. Some people are just shy, others prefer to do their thing and others just don’t have the time. According to studies, there are even people who feel dirty and inauthentic after a networking event. Even if you don’t like networking, it can help you professionally. Even networking haters succeed with tips like the following:

  • Do not rush. You don’t have to accelerate from zero to one hundred in four seconds and rush into every networking event. Take it easy and think in advance about what you want to achieve with your network and which people you want to approach. Then you can make contact via social media or email.
  • Don’t take networking too seriously. It’s a game. If you are shy, set small goals for yourself. Maybe you want to get into conversation with at least two people today. You can also arrange with a colleague that both of you have to reach this minimum goal. It can be a small incentive.
  • It’s generally a good idea to attend a networking event with a nice colleague or friend. Take someone with you whose side you feel comfortable with. However, don’t hang out together like a couple of peas in a pod. Also split up and seek conversation with others.
  • You don’t have to make big speeches. You can also gain points for being a good listener. Show interest in your counterpart and ask questions. This is another way to be remembered by new contacts as a pleasant conversationalist.

Networking – these are the mistakes you should avoid

If you want to network properly, here’s what you shouldn’t do:

  • Only have your own advantage in mind. You have to serve others and then it will come back to you. First of all you have to invest.
  • Put quantity over quality. 100 poorly maintained contacts are not better than 10 well maintained ones. On the contrary.
  • Wanting too much at once. You have limited time and energy. Choose your contacts carefully and focus on the most promising ones.
  • Want to make an impression by hook or by crook. Be authentic, friendly and open-minded.
  • Talking up your products and services to the best of your ability. It’s about networking, not a sales event.
  • You do not take time for networking. A good network is worth every investment.
  • Don’t start until you’re ready to draw on it. You need to build your network before you need it.
  • Remain passive and only react. Get active and reach out to new contacts. Do not wait to be contacted.
  • Don’t network at all.

Conclusion

If you follow these networking tips, you’ll gradually build your own network. It is important that you focus on quality rather than quantity. Carefully cultivate the contacts you have and prove yourself as a reliable person. As in other relationships, you must first build trust until there is a certain level of sustainability. And it’s important to build networks before you need them, so you can use them when you need them.

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