How to actively improve networking skills?
To achieve your networking goals, you must have great networking skills. Do you have adequate networking skills? Do you want to better your networking skills? Then, read on..
The test of your networking skill is in your ability to establish connections with people, and build valuable relationships, partnerships, collaborations, and networks.
Good networking skills require fundamental human skills in communication, authenticity, and the ability to be present and participate in people’s interactions and conversations. However, one is not a born networker. Professional networking is an acquired skill and the sooner you start better it is.
Hone these 3 networking skills to become a master networker. Find out here -
1. Practice relationship building
Practice building genuine relationships - the foremost part of networking success.
How to do that?
Set your networking relationship goals - EX- How many strong relationships you can make and nurture in a month?
What days and time slots can I keep aside for meeting new people?
Who will be these people?
Why should they talk to me and give me their time?
What value I can offer?
You need to be open, honest, and genuine about your engagement with their issues in order to build a strong and real network. Pay more attention to their needs than your own; ask open-ended questions, get to know them as people first, and then get to know them as sources of help later.
Read more: 9 Tips on How to Grow Your Professional Network on LinkedIn
2. Practice communication skills
To be a successful networker, you must have the ability to participate in a group conversation so that you can contribute effectively without feeling tempted to dominate the conversation.
To master networking communication you must master to-
It is important to make people comfortable before expecting them to open up. This involves verbal and non-verbal communication skills both.
Not only your words, but your body language is equally important in striking a chord with the other person. How you say 'hi', smile, and shake hands will create the first impression. I have covered this in detail in my article - how to display the right body language at networking?.
Ask meaningful questions.
Asking leading questions opens new avenues for conversation. It tells the other person that you are genuinely interested in him or her.
Initially, creating a list of questions based on broad categories will get you started.
Practice being an active listener
People need good listeners. Everybody likes attention. And active listeners are more in demand than in supply. Active listening produces a better impression. It tells that you respect others' views. It demonstrates your humility.
When you pay attention to someone talking, you maintain eye contact and respond with a nod, you have already made a rapport with that person. He would definitely remember you more than anyone else around. And, might even ask you to talk about yourself.
Give your best
If you want to build authority, then start providing value for your listeners.
Many a time, people are very conscious of not sharing advice while talking to people - "Why I should give free advice?"
But consider your valuable input as a give-away. It is like a preview of a complete movie to your target audience. If you are still not comfortable, you can create a list of what advice/information you can part with.
Read more: How to Start Conversation With Strangers at a Networking Event?
3. Hone your social skills
Social skills are a necessity and not a choice if you want to be a great networker.
Social skills are nothing but your willingness and ability to engage with others in a good way on both personal and professional levels. I have realized that it is more of a willingness issue. If you are willing to make friends, you would be able to.
You just need to -
Step out of your comfort zone.
Wear a smile and appreciate.
Engage in conversations.
Many people shy away from networking because they lack the skills to start a conversation, connect with someone, nurture a relationship, and maintain it over time. But when you commit to improving your networking skills by following these networking practices, you can achieve your professional or personal goals.
Which particular skill do you think you need to develop more. Would you like me to write about something specific? Pen your thoughts in the comments section or mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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