It’s no secret that networking plays a very essential role when working to advance in the career of your choice. No matter the field you pursue, most likely you will have to master the art of interacting. Here, we offer the tips to building bonds beyond those initial handshakes.
Building relationships and social capital through genuine, relevant and productive networking is vital. A large majority of it all begins with asking questions. Start with becoming curious about what people are passionate about as well as where their interests lie. What are their dreams? What are their goals? What do they aspire to achieve in life?
Think about how great it feels when you come across someone who shares your interests. Art, culture, fashion, food, hobbies, movies, music, sports, travel destinations, etc. It feels great right? Just make sure that you are prepared to answer the same questions you pose.
Read, listen, watch… we cannot stress this enough! One of the best ways to gain knowledge and insight is through reading, listening and watching. Pay close attention. Read articles, books and magazines. Listen to and watch interviews. The purpose of this is to gather enough information to spark and carry a great conversation.
Quick Tip: Stay “in the know.” Make an effort to go to Barnes & Noble at least one day out of every month to read up on magazines and check out the latest influential book. (We love Phil Jackson’s Eleven Rings).
Who are you looking to network with? What kind of person are they? Where are they most likely to hang out? As you can see, the questioning process never ends. Hence, in order to get the right answers, you must ask the right questions.
Thanks to social media, you may not have to ask as many questions as you think. This is largely because we choose to openly share our day-to-day activities. Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter and Youtube all play an instrumental role in helping to identify those people who you feel may be worth recruiting into your network. Use social media to your advantage!
Always choose the best method of communication. Here are some of your best options:
● Face To Face (FTF) (Richest and most direct medium)
● Video (Good for building relationships with others in foreign territory)
● Phone (Good for in-depth communication, planning and sharing ideas)
● Text (Good for sharing basic information, coordinating and scheduling phone calls and/or FTF meet-ups)
● Email (Good for initial introductions, setting a professional tone and documentation)
● Social Networks (Great for identifying and recruiting potential members into your network)
Ultimately, the trick to networking is to connect the dots and put the pieces of the puzzle together. It’s one thing to build relationships, it’s another to maintain them.
Quick Tip Two: Keeping others in the know is vital! When people are aware of what you are involved in, they often want to contribute.
Networking begins with building relationships. Proper relationship management largely determines keeping a solid network. Make it your responsibility to check-in, follow-up and stay in touch with your contacts. Sometimes we may tend to get discouraged when others don’t respond to our inquiries. Remain patient and professional, we all have lives to live! The more frequently you do it, the better you will become.
Written by: Aquaus Kelley
Edited by: Jessica Herndon