Updated April 27, 2023
Networking strategies refer to the tactics and methods to build and maintain professional connections and relationships with others to accomplish specific goals.
In this article, we will discuss why you should do networking strategies; how to do it in the right way, and we will talk about ideas that will help you connect with people who are way more influential than you so that you can learn from them and get better, smarter and influential too.
Why should you use Networking Strategies?
Networking is an art, and if you don’t know how to do it right away, you will likely feel frustrated with networking strategies and give up in between.
Many people have the idea that networking strategies are for people who are extroverts. But do you think it is true? Networking strategies are for everyone who wants to help each other grow in their career and personal life. You will take it seriously if you know how many jobs are closed simply by employee referrals. Moreover, you may need to learn what the other person knows about a subject that can make a huge difference in your life. The idea is not to be confined to the mindset that if you are not an extrovert, you can’t network.
There is another issue with networking strategies. People feel like imposters while doing it. Why? In the real sense, they don’t know how to do networking strategies; thus, whenever they try, they feel uncomfortable and start criticizing themselves. But you don’t need to think of imposters. You can connect with people only sometimes to get something out of them. You can serve them as well. What if we tell you that you need to talk to as many people as possible to help them with your products, services, recommendations, and ideas; then would you feel the same? No, right!
How to use networking strategies the right way?
There is no one way.
#1 – Give, Not Take
Your focus on networking strategies should be – “How may I serve you?” instead of “What’s in it for me?” You won’t talk to people because you need something from them or connect to people because you want to help them. This simple tweak in the mindset will make all the difference.
Now, you may ask – how can I help someone more influential and knowledgeable than me? Here’s the answer. Till we are alive, we have to go through issues. Even after acquiring so much knowledge and influence, people face many turbulences. No, you don’t need to poke your nose. But you can help them meet someone whom you know can help them. And boom! You did a service. Instead of trying to persuade them to do something for you, you did something for them first. And guess what? Doing this will win their hearts, and they will remain your friends forever.
#2 – Be Present
If it is with someone at a party, give your full attention to that person. Don’t get distracted or play with your phone while listening to them. It feels humiliating if you don’t listen while talking to the person. If the person with whom you are talking is comfortable, s/he will remain in touch with you, not because you are someone on top of the world; but because you have paid attention to them, while the others never did. So, no matter where you go, to a party or a meeting, if you meet someone exciting to talk to, meet them with your complete attention. Ask meaningful questions as you listen to that person! Even if most people don’t realize this, their presence greatly impacts the people they want to connect with.
#3 – Listen More Than You Talk
In a setting where people gather and introduce each other, most people network as if they want to say everything about themselves at once to every person they meet. They think they need to blurt out everything about themselves. But that’s a creepy way to use networking strategies. The idea is to focus on other people and what they have to say; rather than what you have in your mind. You can talk about yourself when required, but make it less.
Listen more. Enhance your listening habits. Let the other person open up. Don’t listen to respond. Listen as if you want to know everything about them, their stories, and what they are up to. It’s a great trait you would notice in all communication experts. They don’t rush to do things. They listen, understand, and ask questions. And then, if needed, they tell a bit about themselves. The idea is to share whatever you have to say once the other person finishes talking. If you listen more and talk less, you can give the benefit of the doubt to the other person you are eager to know. And once they realize that, they will also be interested in you. That’s how networking strategies work, not in a creepy way, but in a way that would serve everybody in the circle of networks.
#4 – Think Long-term, Not Short-term
Networking strategies is a skill that you need to see from a long-term perspective. It’s not something you do to get something out of a person immediately. No. You use networking strategies because you want to know more people and make them friends.
Business Philosopher Jim Rohn said you are the average of people you are most associated with. When networking, most people think about short-term benefits and try to grab as much as possible from the person. They don’t realize that being pushy is not the way to go. Rather you need to understand that the people you are networking with are humans too. They also have the deepest needs to connect, feel appreciated, and feel special. And that’s how the relationship is being made (both professional and personal). Thus whenever you connect with anyone, try to think long-term. Think about how you can help that person grow and get better at whatever they are trying to achieve, and all your effort in networking strategies will work in your favor. And thus, you will win.
#5 – Don’t Overcommit or Feel Guilty
You will meet many people whenever you go to a party or a professional gathering. It would be almost impossible to keep track of everyone. You don’t need to feel guilty about that. Rather be selective. Say hello to everyone, but make sure that you talk to people whom you like and admire. You should not pretend to like someone you don’t like in the real sense. If you do, that networking would seem like you are faking. Select people in every gathering, usually 5-10, and create a great connection. If you receive any unsolicited requests, don’t bother to say yes. Say no directly so that it doesn’t linger on. Don’t try to act nice if you don’t want to do something.
Networking is about going in accordance with your nature. Rather networking strategies are connecting with people with whom you feel you can share your ideas, business, and professional life skills. And don’t commit to anyone. Connect, and take your time giving words to everyone. Giving speeches and not keeping them later is a terrible idea. Don’t do it. Take things slowly. Eventually, you will understand how to network when you meet many people in a social or professional gathering.
#6 – Be Honest
Honesty triumphs over everything else. If you are honest with your party counterparts, it will win you many connections. You need to know a balance between how much to say and how much to keep with you. Being honest doesn’t mean you must go to people and tell them everything about your private life. Do not do it.
Being honest means if someone asks you to do something you don’t want to, politely say no to them instead of trying to be nice. You don’t go to networking events just to be nice. Rather, you go to these events to make connections through which you can help each other grow. In the circumstances like this, many people brag about their influence and fame, which is untrue. Even don’t brag about what you are not. Rather be authentic and express your real self. If you be honest, people around you will feel encouraged to be honest too. Honesty helps build a better network.
#7 – Take Action Immediately
Networking strategies are a foundation to be able to complete your dreams. So if you don’t take action immediately, connecting with many people won’t help you. For example, let’s say you agree to do something for someone you just associated with. Maybe you both decided to introduce yourselves via email. Pull out your smartphone and email the person right away. Don’t wait till you reach home. Taking immediate action is a great habit; if you can keep taking action like this, you will make much progress through your connections.
Here’s an idea that can revolutionize how you view networking strategies. Whenever you make any connection, talk to them, understand them, and you will eventually get to know what they are struggling with. Keep a diary with you always. Please write the person’s name, report the issue s/he has been struggling with, and mention the date. Go back home and in your spare time, work on that problem. If you can solve the problem, call the person or email the solution to the person. If you can do it for every person you meet, you will create a great impact, and you don’t need to worry about anything from then on.
#8 – Only Go To Events That Excite You
Only join networking strategies or events if you want to know more people. If you don’t feel excited to go to a place, chances are you will never feel driven to meet new people. Thus choose events that are close to your heart. Thinking about those events should make you feel amazing. All you need to do then is to carry yourself and enjoy the process. Networking strategies are something you should appreciate. You need to know what you like and what you dislike to be able to be better at networking activities.
These are the best tips for building a great network and improving networking activities. These tips are by Marie Forleo, entrepreneur and celebrated virtual teacher. If you need help with networking activities, use one of the tips above and apply. See for yourself what works and what doesn’t work. And you will figure out how to network, different from how you always thought networking strategies were.
Here are some articles that will help you get more details about networking strategies, so go through the links.