Make top quality connections when Networking

by Align Solutions
Created: 30 May 2015

networkingHow to make top quality connections when Networking
(Info from Careers24)

Whether you’re a business owner or an employee looking to make connections with substance, these tips will help you to make better connections when networking.
 

CHOOSE COMMON GROUNDS
Be focused when you’re at an event.  Don’t try to network with every person there. Identify the people who think like you and are interested in similar things as you are.  Try to network with people who are also in the same age bracket – you may have more in common with them as well. They don’t necessarily have to be in the same industry; a complimentary industry could be quite beneficial as well.

GIVE AND YOU’LL RECEIVE
This may sound a bit cliché, but the more you’re willing to give of your time and help others solve problems, the more you’ll show them who you are and why you could be a very valuable connection to have.

GIVE THEM A CHALLENGE
When you’re trying to connect with more senior businessmen and women, show interest by letting them know how inspirational or impressive you think their career path is then tell them what you’ve been trying to solve and ask what their view on the problem  is. These people thrive on challenges and would more often than not welcome the chance to help you solve it. It’ll be a great conversation starter and they’ll enjoy discussing interesting challenges. You’ll immediately know if the person you’re hoping to connect with is interested in connecting with you and if they would be a valuable contact to have.

MAKE SURE THEY REMEMBER YOU AFTER YOUR MEETING
Not everyone you meet will remember you the next day, which is why it’s important that you do some sort of follow-up the next day or two days later. It shouldn’t be forced though. If you spoke about an interesting topic that left unanswered questions between you two, perhaps send them a link to an article that does have the answers, for example. This sort of interaction will give you the chance to not only help the person remember you better, it’ll also open  the door to starting  a more natural sort of working relationship so it doesn’t seem like you only want something from them.

SET TIME ASIDE TO NETWORK
Good business relationships don’t just happen overnight.  You have to work at them like you would any other goal you have.  If you see one of your connections has a new job or got a promotion, take the time to send them a note to say congratulations. They’ll appreciate the thought. Perhaps offer to take them out for a coffee to catch up – it’s a great way to catch up and ask about other connections that they could introduce you to.

DON’T TRY TO BE SOMEONE YOU’RE NOT
The best person you can be is yourself.  Your potential connections will appreciate real people over pretentious ones. Also, you have to show real interest in your potential connections. Be genuinely interested in what they have to say and offer to help if you can.  Networking is about making genuine, long-lasting connections that will be mutually beneficial.

WHY IS NETWORKING SO IMPORTANT?

Many people have agreed that it’s all about who you know in the working world. Networking with the right people in your industry can open doors for you and help your career flourish. Consider this your guide to networking.

WHAT CAN NETWORKING DO FOR ME?
For starters, networking helps you acquire contacts, information and helpful advice surrounding your industry, which is exactly what you need to do when job hunting.  If you’re quite shy, start small; make a list of everyone you know; family, friends, neighbours, and anyone else you can think of – the more contacts you have, the more information you’ll gain. Try to stick to people who are in some way connected to your chosen career field – that way you’ll always  be kept in the loop about  job openings, if you play your cards right.

I HAVE THE CONTACTS, NOW WHAT?
Before making contact with them, prepare yourself.  Know what to tell them about yourself and also what you’d like to ask them.  Start with who you are. Tell them about your education, achievements, industry experience, and special skills – important information that will sell you. Then figure out what you’d like to ask your contacts.

HERE ARE A FEW QUESTIONS YOU CAN ASK YOUR CONTACTS:
1. Are there or do you know of any openings at your company that would be suited to me?
2. Have you heard of anyone who might be interested in hiring someone with my skills or background?
3. Do you know of anyone else who might know of job vacancies that I can contact?

The last thing you want to do though is sound like a robot asking questions from a page. Prepare your script and make sure you sound as natural as possible. Keep it short, but also make sure you interact with your contact. You want to build a lasting, pleasant relationship so that they’ll keep you in mind should anything pop up.

FOLLOW UP
After speaking to a contact about job leads, follow up with a thank you email or phone call. People like that you appreciate their help. Don’t become a nag though, there’s a limit to the amount of follow ups you should do. That said; don’t ever give up on your search.

7 TOP NETWORKING TIPS
1. Make professional business cards and always carry them with you
2. Know how to deliver a winning handshake
3. Dress for success
4. Don’t be stiff – laugh, connect, chat
5. Help others
6. Listen attentively. Nothing less than your undivided attention
7. Be respectful, punctual, courteous and positive

IF YOU NETWORK PROPERLY IT COULD OPEN A LOT OF DOORS FOR YOU!