The Art of Networking

Is your idea of networking little more than going to an event and handing out business cards with strangers? If so, you’re missing out on creating meaningful connections with talented individuals that can lead to new opportunities.

Whether you’re looking for a new job or want to develop new relationships to grow your business, the following strategies can help you connect with anyone.

Host an Event and Invite the Right People

Putting together your own small informal party is an excellent way to meet new people. Make a plan for who you’d like to meet and why. Devote your time to reaching out to them to build a mutually beneficial relationship.

Get Moving and Be Genuine

Go beyond your level or industry when networking. Intentionally set out to draw those above and below you into your network by contacting them. This opens up a whole new world for you. Connect with people by developing curiosity for them and be open to new relationships without letting your ego stifle you.

Stop Selling Yourself

Stop trying to impress new people with your expertise and title. Opt for conversations that allow you to ask questions and then genuinely listen to the response. You’ll discover your commonalities which can foster a connection that grows with time. Get to know people before you push your business card on them. Have a meaningful conversation and then offer your card for better success.

Put Them First

Instead of asking about the opportunities available without offering something of value, network with the other person in mind. Ask or offer what you can do for them. Doing so will increase your network and build relationships that can benefit you down the road.

Leave an Impression

Telling stories is a great way to be memorable. It can be joke or something more serious, but start sharing stories that make people listen. As well, do your best to end conversations as gracefully as possible. Always maintain eye contact until they have finished speaking so that it doesn’t appear as you’re hurrying away to make your next connection.