Again recently, I have had conversations with lots of successful professional people who have said they dislike networking, know they don’t get enough from it and know they need to work on their skills. These are the people who acknowledge how essential it is to both their personal career success and that of their organisation. Candidly this is because as people progress in their careers, they do less of the technical work and have greater responsibility for building relationships with other organisations to either partner up on clients/projects or to gain referrals, as well as of course spend more time developing prospect relationships. Success at doing both these things improves how an individual is performing in their role and increases organisational success, as these lead to growth. For those who don’t acknowledge this, they are missing a big opportunity.
There are lots of important elements to networking and ways to improve the results you get from it (whilst remembering it is a long game and a numbers game). However, in this article I want to focus on 3 key things to focus the mind and increase your networking success, so that next time you go to an event, you have specifics to have in mind.
- Consider carefully who you approach, if you join a conversation where you are clearly not welcome, it makes for a difficult encounter, and knocks your confidence. Look carefully at the body language of the pair/group, before you approach.
- Be human. Many people worry about what to say, always start with points of human commonality. Certainly never dive straight into asking about someone’s work, there’s no coming back from that!
- Focus on the other person – be interested in what they have to say and engaged with what they are saying. Consider how you may be able to help them – send them some information, connect them to someone relevant?
Remember, an event is just the start of a potentially fruitful professional relationship, you won’t want to go on to build these relationships with everyone you meet. However, an action plan is necessary to do all the following-up you need to post event, as well as making sure you keep in touch with those you want to build more of a relationship with.
What are your challenges with networking? What makes you successful at it, or avoid it? I’d love to know.
Being a successful networker is just one element that contributes to career success and progression, particularly from middle career upwards. If you’d like to receive my ‘Top Tips To Boost Your Career Success’, you can request them here.