It’s easy to get seduced into thinking there are some ‘dark arts’ to networking, that other people have mastered and you haven’t. Not true.
Most of us network successfully all the time, without realising we’re doing it.
- Let people know what you’re up to.
Keep friends, family and ex-colleagues in the loop about what you’re doing. You’ll be amazed how many useful contacts come your way.
- Follow up leads and keep in touch.
An email or postcard from time to time stops relationships going stale and shows people you haven’t forgotten about them.
- Take the initiative.
If you were at a work function, or a social one for that matter, would you mind someone coming over and saying hello? Would you object to someone sending you an email to introduce themselves and tell you what they do? Probably not. And virtually everyone feels the same way.
- Be present online.
The internet is enormously useful. Linkedin is definitely the industry leader, but Facebook and Twitter can also be used.
- Learn to be a better conversationalist.
This is more simple than it sounds. Listen attentively. Ask open questions (Who, why, what, which, where, when, how).
- Carry up to date contact information.
Most of us carry a phone, a good old-fashioned business card does the trick too.
- Invite people out.
Coffee, lunch, a drink – it’s often easier to strike up a rapport over a glass of something.
- Be generous.
Establishing useful contacts requires mutual cooperation. Share your knowledge and give other people a helping hand, even if you don’t feel they can offer you much in return. What goes around, comes around. Or, to put it more scientifically: the more people understand the principle of mutual cooperation, the more likely we all are to benefit.
If you need any advice on these, please contact us.