The Importance of Learning Effective Networking Skills
For many people the mere mention of them learning effective networking skills is enough to send them running to the hills. It takes up valuable time and if you are rather introverted, can be a stressful activity. However, such is the power of networking these days, it really can be a hugely beneficial tool to have in your armoury.
Think of it as merely social interaction among friends and colleagues and you will alleviate the stress and actually start to enjoy yourself. For some it’s not easy walking up to complete strangers at a networking function. However, if you think about it, they will be there for the same reasons as you and may have the same anxieties. All you have to do is to break the silence by introducing yourself and normally the conversation will start to flow.
Networking though is more than just attending official networking groups. You can take advantage effective networking skills almost everywhere. The parent standing next to you at your son or daughters sporting event could be your next big client. If you never speak to them you’ll never know.
Effective networking skills within your current employment will enable you to put yourself in position should a promotional opportunity arises. In the broader field of your work, it will ensure that you are in people’s minds when vacancies occur. A recommendation from the right person massively increases your chances of a successful interview.
Being good at “putting yourself about” is extremely important in the business world.
The Benefits of Gaining Effective Networking Skills
There are many benefits to networking, some will benefit you and your company but sometimes it enables you to help others. This, of course, has an indirect benefit to you as people who are seen to be helpful, get more respect. Here are just some of the benefits:
Becoming more visible in the business community is getting harder. As work becomes more global so individuals become smaller. By being known in your local business communities you will start to realise that you are more visible and the more people who know you, the better it is for business.
It really is a two-way street and as you begin to exchange new ideas with others, you will start to hear of new ideas from them. Taking new ideas back to your boss is never a bad thing, either. As your effective networking skills increase, this will become a regular thing.
First to Learn of New Openings
Talking to people in networking groups is often the best place to hear of new opportunities. If you have already gained the trust of someone in the group, the chances are they will want to inform you of new openings that could further your career.
Expand Your Support Network
As your group of networking friends increases so will the number of people that can be of use to you. You may have an important interview looming and they may have already gone through the same process. Alternatively, you may simply need the skill set of another person to assist you in a current task.
Improving Your Position
Several studies have shown that good networking increases your chances of promotion and salary increases. By connecting with other talented individuals your skill set increases as does your confidence. Added insight and visibility puts you in your bosses mind when positions become available.
A Platform For Your Opinions
Having a larger platform on which to express your opinions will give you a chance to present your own ideas and learn from others at the same time. It is one thing talking shop to family and friends but nothing matches sharing with professional people in your network.
Advice on How to Go About it
Here are some good ideas of ways to get started and increase your own effective networking skills:
Make Networking a Regular Part of your Routine
Send at least a couple of emails every week to people whose work interests you. Just a cheery hello and an expression of your admiration is all that is needed initially. There’s no need to ask for anything initially, that comes across like spam.
Always adopt a positive tone when reaching out to anyone. So if you are asking to meet someone, say things like your audience really loves their work and you feel it would be beneficial to meet up.
Look Out for The Big Hitters
When honing your effective networking skills, you will meet people who are far more influential than others. Make sure you nurture your relationships with these people. By staying in their inner circle, you will constantly meet other equally important people and be seen as such yourself.
Use Social Network Wisely
Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin are getting more and more important these days. Having said that one bad post does more damage than 20 good ones. Always be positive and complimentary, avoid arguing with people and get your ideas and personality out there.
Learn Email Skills
This sounds obvious but it is amazing how many people get this wrong. Your emails need to be succinct and to the point, they need to find a connection with the addressee and they need to be positive. Any calls to action need to be worth a response. Keep records of your responses and you’ll soon learn which buttons to press.
Never Sound Needy
If you adopt a sort of nothing ventured nothing gained approach, you won’t come across as desperate. If you have anything that you feel would benefit another person, use that as the introduction; play the long game.
Cut the Bad Ones Loose
I know this sounds hard but you will certainly get some contacts that will in no way improve your business life. They will see you simply as someone to use. As you hone your effective networking skills you will start to be able to identify these quickly. When you do, cut them loose, as soon as you can. They are normally the ones who constantly email you with nothing that benefits you and all that benefits them.
Building and improving your effective networking skills will soon become just another part of the job. By adhering to some of these ideas, you should soon have your own important network of talented individuals that is mutually beneficial and also good fun.
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