Become an expert at networking – five smart tips
Every person you meet in the workplace is a door to further networks and business contacts.
How can you become even better at networking effectively in a business context, and making contacts that lead to actual collaborations? Here are five tips.
1. Define what you want to achieve – before you go there
Instead of attending a meeting or event to “there can be valuable contacts”, you should already define in advance which business contacts you want to meet and why.
The best thing is if you can access the name list of participants to sell out these individuals right from the start, but it is also far enough to have defined what position, industry or company size the contact should represent, and what type of business you want to land in the long run in.
This will help you avoid wasting time on cold chats with less relevant contacts.
2. Talk less and listen more
Networking is about laying the groundwork for new relationships in a short time. You do this not by running a quick pitch and selling yourself, but by being genuinely curious and interested in the other person – and listening more than you talk.
There is an unbeatable question that causes people to open up and dare to talk about themselves with strangers. The question is How then?, Which you can basically ask every time the person you are talking to becomes silent.
Follow-up questions show that you are interested, and pushes the conversation forward with almost magical automation.
3. Ask open questions
Another tried and true trick for getting conversations to flow when you don’t really know each other is to ask many open questions.
That is, actively thinking about avoiding closed questions that the other person can easily answer yes or no to, and instead ask open-ended questions such as:
Very interesting – can you develop it a little more?
- Can you give us an example?
- How do you mean?
- Why do you think this is so?
- With such questions you will get closer to the person you want to network with.
4. Network smarter – stick out!
What do participants in business contexts and network meetings usually look like? Often we have similar attire and behavior, which makes it more difficult for everyone to identify who we are and what we represent.
His tip is therefore that you should stick out of the crowd, either through your attire or by telling memorable anecdotes about yourself.
You don’t have to have floral pants on you – it may be enough with a different detail like drawing something on your name tag or having a colorful scarf or bow tie.
Another way to stand out is to dare to ask questions at seminars and draws. By being an active audience participant it becomes easier for others to notice you. It also increases the chance of others initiating a conversation with you, as they can take your questions as a starting point when they come to you afterwards: “Hello, good question you asked there …”.
5. Be concrete and use examples
In order to effectively convey what you are working on, what you can offer and what value you can create for your new contacts, you should avoid speaking in sellable, sweeping terms.
Instead, tell us what you do by using references, stories and customer cases. As you exemplify your work, you become more credible, and others can see more clearly what it would be like to work with you and your company.
The likelihood of others remembering what you say is 22 times greater when you convey it as a story or a case, than as a fact.
So think of a few representative success cases that you can bring with you in the rock sleeve.
Last but not least: Be honest and genuine when networking! Remember that everyone who is in a network context is in the same situation as you. See it as helping each other create new business and get on with the job – that it is a forum for rewarding and taking.