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The answer isn’t really simple, but if you really think about it, you will notice that all the people who are successful today, actually are pretty great at networking. Being in the right place at the right time and hob-nobbing with the right people is all about networking and more importantly about effective and good communication. To build a business or a career, you need to have the right contacts and you need to be in the good books, so to speak of people, who can help you. This is where networking and communication comes into play.
So on this week’s blog, let’s take a look at how you can improve your networking skills along with good communication skills.
(Source:The Balance Careers | Communication Skills for Workplace Success)
What do you Already have in Place?
If you are to start adding to a network, you will also need to take a look at your existing network. You may also sometimes feel that you currently do not have a network at all, but in reality, you do. Who are the people and what are the resources all around you and how can you use them? That is what networking skills entail. For example, your friends. Can they help do some free PR for your small business by using their Instagram or Facebook handles? For good networking begin with what you already have with you.
Developing your communication and networking skills is also a mindset if you think about it. You should be able to network no matter where you are, what time it is and who it is that you are speaking to. For this, your communication skills need to be just spot on along with your attitude and self-confidence. If you are great at conversing, you have a good shot at making your network happen.
Like we said before, good networking skills means that you also have excellent communication skills and for that you need to have substance to what you are saying and not just style. This is even truer if you happen to be speaking with a professional. They will be able to call you out if you are just relying on style without having any substance to what you are talking about. Therefore always be prepared and always know what you want to say.
Imagine this. You go into a cocktail and everything is great. You stand in a corner with your drink in hand and patiently wait for people to come and speak to you. Will this work? No, it won’t. If you want to network, start communicating. Work the room and mingle with people. Introduce yourself, put yourself out there. That’s how connections are created. Be proactive and you will get results.
This is another point where great communication skills will come in handy. You have to keep your conversations open ended and humorous so that people will genuinely enjoy them. Keep things fresh. Keep things interesting and it will serve as the charisma that draws people to you. Do not get over-excited or try too hard. Just be yourself and people will appreciate you for just that.
If you are a business minded professional looking to network, you will know better than anybody else that time is money. If you find that you are in a conversation that is not really a good match or simply not going anywhere, exit fast and do so politely. You don’t have to speak to a hundred people to build a good network. Building connections with two of the right people is more than enough really.
Now, just as much as you should know what you should do when it comes to networking, you should also be aware of what you should not do. That is the essence of good networking skills. For example, do not pretend to be somebody that you are not, people can and will see right through the act. Do not exaggerate or lie, nobody wants to be in business with an unreliable person. Do not try to prove that you are always correct or that you are always the smartest. If you are opinionated, you should also be ready for the opinions of others and it is not necessary that they will see eye on eye with you, on this.
So the party is over and everybody has gone home. You go home feeling like you did a great job at networking, but when the laughter dies down and the drinks are gone, many people may not really remember that they promised you that they would meet you the next week. Therefore, follow up and let them know that you remember and that you are interested. Follow up is what turns a casual friendly banter over a glass of champagne into a long term business relationship.
So that’s the basic steps of networking and communication that you should know about. The next time around, make sure that you try at least two of these tips and see how well it works for you. Did you think our blog was helpful? Let us know so we can keep writing for you. If you want to network better you can contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org for our courses on communication skills.