We all know what networking is. We do it every day even when it’s not intentional. But professional networking goes beyond just following people and getting connected to as many people as you can. Business networking is deliberate and when done properly would help you gain access to more experienced executives and professionals in your field and other spheres of life.
The aim of business networking is to help you get support, feedback and advice that would help you shape your career through meaningful relationships you have built over time.
However, some of us are getting it all wrong by making the following business networking mistakes
You only do business networking when you need help
One of the biggest mistakes we make is not starting early. A lot of people start networking only when they need something desperately like a job, a recommendation, a verification of some sort or have a specific professional need. You need to be proactive to get this right. Start business networking now when you don’t need help.
Build relationships by supporting someone’s opinion or views that align with yours, refer or recommend someone if you can, offer to help if you are capable of doing so, share your values, help someone gain some credibility by verifying them on a skill and much more. Remember, one good turn deserves another. When you sure need help, you won’t have to desperately ask for it, it would be easy.
You avoid people who share your job title
A lot of people assume there is little or nothing new they would learn from another professional in their field. Therefore, they connect only with either higher executives or people in another professional field with the hope that they would learn more valuable lessons that way. While that is great, some of the best ideas usually come from talking with other professionals in your field who share the same daily obstacles as you do.
Therefore, be open to meeting other people at the same level as you in your career, and discuss the challenges you face. It will feel good to get help from someone who understands you perfectly because are also trying to tackle similar issues. You never can tell, they also might be able to refer you to the right source to get something sorted. It could be career-related or finance related.
You’re not prepared for a conversation or a follow-up
A lot of people attend seminars, meet new people, get to know their names and end it there. That is poor business networking. When you attend events and meet new people, you should be ready to go beyond the brief introductions of knowing their names. You should be ready to share your views on a subject and start a conversation.
This way you encourage the other person to also share their opinions and there, you have a conversation. Take it a step further and don’t end the conversation at the seminar, do a follow-up and check them out on social media to continue the conversation or start a new meaningful conversation that would help you grow.
Finally, remember that business networking is a continuous effort to build and support others just like you would want them to do in return
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