THREE EASY WAYS TO NETWORK
Today, thanks to social media, networking has become an essential part of our lives. We network with people who share common interests with us or with people who help us grow and become better or even with the ones that help us further our career goals. Networking with other people, especially on professional grounds has become an essential step for success these days. Here are three easy ways to network that will help you as an individual or as an organization, to grow and succeed.
There are various levels at which we connect to people. Sometimes we connect to them over similar interests or hobbies. Then there are our colleagues, former colleagues or mates from school that we share memories and experiences with. Finally, there are people we connect with to grow in our personal or professional lives. The easiest way to connect to people is definitely through the social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. However, before you start making connections online, you need to build up your profile. The structure of your profile will depend on your objective for connecting with people. While your profile can be personal if you are only looking for people who share personal interests with you, it will need to be more formal and professional in case you want to have professional acquaintances.
While online social media platforms serve to be an excellent starting point, they are not enough. Translating your online contacts into offline ones is equally important to maintain and grow your network. Attend conferences and seminars where you can network with people. Have conversations face to face and express interests in others’ lives. While it is much simpler to like, comment and share views online to express your interest in a person, when it comes to doing so in an offline scenario, you might find it difficult. Apart from great communication skills, you need to have good listening skills as well. Your ability to listen to them will make more of an impression than your gift of gab.
While offline meet and greets are an amazing place to build up your network, avoid running from person to person, handing out your business cards. Instead of randomly approaching people, do your homework and select a few people who will be an asset to your network.
Most importantly, do not expect something from everyone. Remember, these networks aren’t for instant gratification. Relax and enjoy yourself while getting to know some more interesting people. In fact, making a new connection just because you find someone delightful isn’t a bad idea at all.
Just building networks online or offline isn’t going to be enough. You will need to take steps to maintain and nurture these relationships. And that, takes time and a lot of patience. To reconnect with your network of people try to
- Join a regular meet up
Become a part of a meet-up group that is relevant to your networking or professional goals. This option works for those of us who don’t have a lot of time. Once you meet a large number of like-minded people, it is easier to mingle and find those who click with you.
- Host events
Another way of reconnecting with your contacts is to host events that your group might find interesting. It could be a simple dinner or a book club to an excursion out.
- Keep in touch
The most effective way is however, to keep in touch with all your contacts. Start with a simple list of their birthdays and anniversaries. Make sure you send them cards for special occasion. An email once in a while also works wonders. The objective is to build a personal relationship that lasts longer.