11 Tips to improve your networking

By Jayden Williams, Host of The Boardroom Podcast
June 7, 2021
Networking is something we encourage to be an ongoing process. It requires persistence, attention, organisation and authenticity. Incorporate the art of networking into your career and you will gain opportunities and build relationships that will last a lifetime.
Meet People Through Others
Referrals are the best and easiest way to meet new people. Building relationships with people who know those you wish to connect with, will open up opportunities to connect. These can also be regarded as a warm welcome - being introduced by someone who knows both parties install a lot of trust at the beginning of the relationship.

Just be aware - you can't just burn these connections, as the person introducing you is essentially putting their brand and reputation on the line, so respect that.
Utilise Social Media
Taking the pressure of face-to-face connection, social media is the perfect environment to meet and engage with people online. Certain tools can enable you to search for like-minded people or certain people in roles, industries or stages in their career that offline networking simply can provide with such ease.

Commenting, engaging, connecting and interacting in conversation is a great way to network online - just ensure what you are adding is valuable.

Your goal with social media networking should always be to take the conversation offline.
Stop Asking for a Job
When you are job hunting, try not to rely on your network for getting that job. Share with them your movements and what you are hoping to find in this next role - but never ask them for a job.

You can ask people for information related to your job search.

You main goal is to build a relationship and establish rapport, so that when opportunities do come up, your contact may be willing to refer you - that's it.
Ask for a Resume Review
If you are networking during a job search, asking people to provide feedback on your resume is a highly effective way to introduce yourself and show this person who you are and what value you can bring.

Your goal here is not to get a job directly with this person, but by them reviewing your resume to think of a company or connection that could use your services.
Be Conscious of Time
People are never happy when someone takes up too much of their time. So when connecting with people and networking in a professional environment, always be aware of the time.

Never be late to a meeting, plan ahead of time how you can add value to them and what you'd like to discuss, be professional and never take up more than you need.

You will gain credibility and respect if you come prepared, on time and respect their time.
Listen More
Listen way more than your talk when networking. Being a good conversationalist is all about listening and not standing their talk about you the entire time.

Make sure you give the other person a chance to talk and really listen to what they say. Be present in the moment, don't be distracted by your phone or things happening around you. The person you are with will respect your attention during the conversation.
Use Storytelling in Conversation
People have used stories to gain the attention of people forever. Use this to your advantage when in conversation with people you want to build relationships with.

Stories will capture their attention and have them interested in what you have to say.

Tell them about a problem you encountered, how you solved it and what success looked like at the end. Keep it short, sharp and relevant to the situation.
Ask for Suggestions
Your main goal with networking is not to only meet one or two people - the people you meet, you want to tap into their networks as well.

Asking them for introductions to relevant people, suggest what type of people you want to connect to and why, and share with them where you think you can add value.

This is a great way to turn one connection into many and build real momentum in developing your professional network.
Find a Reasons to Follow Up
Building rapport with people is a process, creating reasons to keep the relationship going will ensure you do create real connections with people.

The first follow up should follow after you meet the person the first time. Highlight what it is you talked about, thank them for their time and if any actions needed to be taken DO THEM STRAIGHT AWAY!

Throughout the year, find at least two or three opportunities to reconnect with people in your professional network.
Say Thank You
The act of simply saying thank you after getting the chance to meet and talk with someone, goes a long way to building a relationship with the people you connect with.

It adds a personal touch and it shows you respect their time and efforts.
Up to Date Online Presence
If you are out and about connecting with people, please ensure your online presence is up to date. People will be searching you online, if what they see online does not reflect who they met offline, you will lose the rapport you built and might find it hard to reconnect.
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