Networking is something we all do to some degree. In today’s world, the value of making connections, building great networks and maintaining relationships is often the difference between success and failure. As a businesswoman, having a good network can lead you to a life-changing career and personal opportunities. So it is definitely worth the time and effort to construct and cultivate the best network for you.
Re-establish Old Connections
You do not need to go out and meet and greet everyone on the street. Many people do that with the hopes of finding someone who can be an integral part of their network. Frankly, this would be very exhaustive and inefficient. If you are currently employed or you are a wifepreneur who works out of a shared building, then you should start thereby. Work on forming a connection with someone who is progressively trying to improve themselves. I will also suggest that you reach out to people that you once had a good relationship with. It’s a great way to re-establish those connections where you may not have been in contact with in recent years. These can be relatives, schoolmates or former co-workers.
Be Genuine and Helpful
Try building your network with the mindset of being helpful to the person and not just seeking for what you can get out of the relationship. Being genuine and concerned goes a long way in making a lasting connection. If you contact someone, you should always aim to assist them if you are able to. This could be something as simple as sharing information on a particular subject or person. For example, if you know a specialist in a field they may be interested in.
Attend Conferences or Networking Events
Meeting someone face to face is still the best way to make a connection so you should attend conferences or networking events that are related to your field. These are great opportunities to learn about new and exciting developments in your field. You may also meet new people who could become invaluable to you. You should prepare and practice a short introductory speech about yourself. It should hit on the main points of your background, for example, education; where you have worked and what position you have held. As you contact more people, this will become easier and you will be able to pick out specific points in a conversation that you have an interest in and can speak with knowledge on.
Use Online Platforms To Your Advantage
Make it a point for you to use the tools available on the Internet, for example, Facebook or LinkedIn. You can look up lost associates from schools you attended or places you have worked. You should also make a note of anyone in your field or in senior positions that you do not know and then contact them via email or phone and introduce yourself in a professional manner. Prior to making contact with the aforementioned group, you should do some research on their company and field which will show, during the conversation that you are interested in their life and what they are doing. Remember that your aim is to create a connection and not to get something out of the person. It makes a big difference in the way you are perceived.
HOW TO MAINTAIN RELATIONSHIPS
It is important to keep the contacts you have created and it does not take much time to do so. You can follow the person online and join groups or discussions that they are active in. You do not need to do this every day, but you should be a presence who adds value to the group as a whole and to individual lives. This may mean doing some research on a particular topic, which would have the bonus of increasing your knowledge and scope. A good practice is to think about what you are going to say and the effect it may have. Being insensitive or politically incorrect can be a major turnoff and can reach the ear of many people you would not want it to.
Making Phone Calls
Great networkers maintain their connections by picking up the phone and make some calls. You may not be the type of person who likes talking to people, but this is an important way to let people know that you find them interesting or relevant. This isn’t something that you have to do often, maybe no more than every other month and only for those people who are in the inner circle of your network. If you habitually speak with someone in a friendly manner, then the person would be more likely to give you assistance if you request it. No one likes to be contacted only when you are in need of something, so do not be “that person”.
Broaden Your Connections
Most people become part of a network to share information and help others, so keep that in mind. Whenever you can, be willing to assist others who may also be building their network. Be sure to include people of different ages in your connections, especially the younger generation. Young people will soon be the innovators and leaders of tomorrow. Therefore, helping them build and grow could be beneficial to you, potentially from both a short and long-term perspective.
If you’re not sure where to start, when it comes to joining communities and expanding your network, please feel free to get in touch. We’ll happily give you some suggestions to guide you in the direction to best suit your needs.