6 tips for networking that no one will tell you

Networking is like that seed you sow, which will start giving you results in some time. It is indisputably the numero tip that anyone can give you to grow your career faster. It helps you to build meaningful relationships with people in both the online and offline spaces, that can be leveraged some time in your life. A lot of times people we meet come back around to give us those opportunities that we need the most at the right time. Just like a plant, it may take some time to grow but it definitely will start showing results.

Arguably, people sometimes attend a lot of networking events and have a lot of people on their social media but are unable to make the best use of the opportunities. This is because networking needs to be done the right way. Networking done the wrong way can lead people to not have a very favourable image of you. So if you want work, collaborations, opportunities etc. coming your way then you need to learn how to network smart. 
Humans are social animals and it is absolutely normal for people to help each other out without any prior context (at least for some!). If you will continue to work in silos, then although you may rise but it won’t be as fast as rising together with other people. Collaborations help you achieve multifold versus what you can achieve single handedly. So networking and learning how to network is always a great idea. 

I have for you some tricks and tips that will help you to network in a results oriented fashion. The least takeaway from using these tips in the real world scenario would be lots of new learning. 

1. Prep up to be an amped version of yourself

Human energy is contagious, so make sure that you’re at the best and the most energetic version of yourself. Do those power poses, pep talks or whatever it takes for you to feel confident and happy. How you’re feeling, will show up in your body language and it will help draw people to you. When people look at you, they should want to be able to want to talk to you and this will only happen if you give out a favourable first impression about yourself. When Chris Rock goes on stage, he is on fire, a performer and a charmer. You talking to people during an event is your show time, when you’re displaying an amped version of yourself to help people buy in to what you’re saying and who you are as an individual. So remember this before going for any event. 

2. Have a game plan and do your homework

Do not go to any event unplanned, confused and without doing your homework. A lot of times people show up at events, distributing a stack of their business cards and doing nothing more. Everything that you do in your professional life at least, must have an objective. So think about, what is my objective for attending this event? Is it to get more business? To raise an investment? Learn new things? Or anything else under the sun. Now do a solid preparation aligned to your business objectives. For instance, if you’re looking to raise an investment then know before who are the investors who are going to be coming, what is their portfolio of earlier investments, which sector do they usually invest in, what is their budget for investing this year etc. This way you will be able to talk the right things, to right people. Therefore, do your research about the event and its attendees and have things to ask them beforehand. When you’re clear about your objectives and have done a preparation before hand, you will be able to achieve more from the event. 

3. Elevator pitch, business cards etc.

An elevator pitch is a succinct and a persuasive sales pitch about yourself, which usually lasts for about 30 seconds to 1 minute (the time that it takes one to go up the elevator). With ever decreasing attention spans of people, I would also recommend you to have a personal branding statement is place i.e. what are you good at, who do you do it for and what is your unique selling proposition. Always begin by talking about the results or impact that you or your business helps achieve. This is not more than 1-2 sentences. So now, you have a 1-2 sentences branding statement and a 1 minute elevator pitch ready based on how much time you have to interact with the other person. Be sure not to narrate it out in a rote fashion, you must be natural and yet use preparation efficiently. 

Business cards are often exchanged during a networking event, so you must carry your cards. A golden tip here would be that do not hold all cards together and distribute them. Hand someone your business card, if they ask for one and give it like it has some intrinsic value attached to it. It should not seem like a free giveaway. Similarly, never ask someone very influential for their business card unless they decide to hand it over to you themselves. Instead just ask what would be a best way to reach them politely. Networking is not a business cards exchange marathon, it is about a two way streak where people add value to each other lives. 

4. Bring along the listener in you

An opportunity for conversation with someone is not an avenue to vomit out your achievements and about yourself. People are interested in how you can add value to their life and not listening to you being pompous. They want to talk about themselves and like it when someone else lends their ear. So even if you’re somebody who is impatient and not a good listener, a networking event is a good place to start practicing these qualities. Listen to other people, their concerns, their stories, their learnings. By speaking you will only say what you know, but listening you will learn so many new things that you do not already know. Carry along the best listener in you, this will make people like you more.

5. Learn how to read body language of people

You may not be a body language expert but there are some basics that you ought to know.
  •  If someone has their arms crossed, it means that they are not very open to what you’re saying (unless the temperature is really cold)
  •  When someone’s body is leaning towards you and so are their feet, it means they’re into the conversation and you. If their feet are pointing elsewhere, it means they are wanting to leave the conversation any second
  •  When someone is touching their ears, it means they do not want to hear what you’re saying

These were some basic tips to help you catch if you’re drawing away people from you. And if you notice any of these, then you just need to try and get their attention back, let them talk, or let go of the conversation if you’re unable to get their attention. 

6. Post event strategy

When you’re through with the event and go back home, it doesn’t really end there. If you have collected some visiting/business cards then add them on LinkedIn the same day. Either write to them on email or via a LinkedIn message thanking them for the wonderful conversation giving them some context. Not many people do this, but this is what will make you and your mannerism truly memorable. 

The power and potential of connections is immense, only if you know how to nurture these relationships further. Whether you meet someone in person or e-meet them, nothing will bloom unless you build a conversation, add value and help each other out. Play the long term game even if you do not see any incremental results coming through your way in the short term. Because you do not know, when someone will come in handy. Networking and networking the right way will up your professional game plan. So do it well.

- Tanya Kathpal

Source: https://mindgrad.com/free-reads/f/6-tips-for-networking-that-no-one-will-tell-you

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