In today’s expanding economy, it’s critical that business people maintain a strong network of personal and business connections. Unfortunately, many people reduce their networking efforts when business is good that can lead to relationships eroding or even ending altogether. Nevertheless, building and nurturing your connections is an important on-going initiative for business success. Here are some simple tips for you to consider that will assist you in improving your networking ability.
- Be clear when introducing yourself. While it may be an obvious first step, many introductions are often done badly. So, when initially meeting someone, always make it a point to first say your name and company followed by asking for the same from your listener. Since people assess you within the first few minutes, a proper introduction is an important phase of meeting a person for the first time.
- Specifically, explain what you do. Ideally, prepare an effective opening statement describing your line of work that is well-defined and brief. As an example, instead of saying “I’m a consultant,” say “I’m a business coach for small businesses.” In that regard, being more precise may advance the conversation and spur better dialogue.
- Act more interested than interesting. Try to make the conversation more about the other person than about yourself. Moreover, avoid interrupting or making any comparisons of your own experiences. Instead, aim to be an attentive interviewer and an active listener that will make you look warm, friendly, and confident.
- Be aware of your facial expression. The look on your face is one of the most extensive forms of body language and can show your degree of interest. Therefore, while it may appear that you are enjoying a conversation, the look on your face may indicate otherwise. For this reason, be sure that your facial expression matches the level of interest of the conversation.
- Don’t sell anything. One of the surest ways to end an introduction is to make a sales pitch along with handing out your business card. In fact, don’t give out your business card unless asked for one. Keep in mind that a toned-down introduction is always better and more meaningful than an initial sales pitch.
- Act naturally. Without question, be yourself at all times when networking. Not doing so can make you look desperate, insincere, or even worse. Similarly, there is no alternative for genuineness since most people want to do business with likable, knowledgeable, and trustworthy people.
- Be a good listener. Try to always make eye contact and stay focused on the conversation, including nodding at appropriate times to demonstrate that you are paying attention. Likewise, resist the urge to voice impulsive thoughts as well as limiting any distractions during the discussion.
- Make sure to follow-up. Soon after your conversation, be sure to contact the person by either a personal note or a phone call. While it may be unlikely that your contact will need your services right away, don’t be surprised if you receive a reciprocal call or even a referral.
In conclusion, improving your networking skills will enable you to form and nurture relationships that will help you to acquire more business connections.