How to master the art of business networking

April 16, 2014 8:48 am

How to master the art of business networking

Networking is a vital tool to grow your professional network as well as increase your businesses opportunities. It’s becoming increasingly important to establish relationships offline so that you can then nurture them online. Whether you’re a young professional or an experienced business owner, networking and making connections is something that we all need to do to continually be successful in business.

One of the hallmarks of a great community is the networks within it. People appreciate getting to know others in their community on a personal level. By combining personal interests of your business with a collective cause of the community, networking is something you should be willing to participate in.

Unfortunately networking does not come naturally to a lot of people. Often it can be a reason why people don’t attend networking events. Don’t worry. It takes time and a lot practice before you’re a master networker. If you’re a reluctant networker, or even a master of arts looking for a refresher, here are five tips to help you along.

 1. Start with a compliment

Start events on a positive note. There’s no better way to do this than to pay a compliment! There are many ways you can do this, from complimenting the venue and its surroundings, or the food and drinks. If you’re more comfortable you can compliment the event organisers and speakers.

2. Go ahead and “Talk Shop”

Lure people in to talk about what they do, how they started in the profession, and what brought them to the event. This way you deflect talking about yourself and in return strike a two-way conversation prompting the same questions in return. Look to talk about ongoing projects and try to involve the conversation with others.

3. Ask uncommon questions

The key to a flowing conversation is the ability to spark up engagement following a great question. Stand out with what you say by asking uncommon questions. Listen carefully to people speaking and their answers to other questions; from this you can tailor questions from their answer

4. Ask for help

Everyone can benefit from someone else’s advice. Take advantage of those who will be around you and their expertise on offer. People love to talk about their successful achievements and how they overcome problems. If you’re struggling with a certain skill gap, chances are that someone has had the same problem.

5. Embrace unexpected surroundings

When at networking events, don’t think that the main event area or bar is the only place you can network. Whether you’re queuing outside or washing your hands in the bathroom, be approachable at all times.

 

For job opportunities, staying on top of the latest industry trends, finding potential business mentors and much more, mastering the art of networking allows you to master the art of business. If you haven’t joined a network, this list might give you some ideas of networks that might be of interest to you. 

Find out more about the different networking options.

Investigate which networking groups are active locally.

Happy networking!

  • Let’s hear your networking stories – good, bad, and funny. What’s the most unusual question you’ve asked? What’s the most unusual thing you’ve been asked? Awkward moments? Let’s hear them!

 

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