Building your network is about building relationships. It’s not about how many people you know or how many likes you get on LinkedIn. Networking is a means to find great resources and awesome people to surround yourself with. Knowing the best of the best and spreading the word about them not only increases their success, but it increases yours.
In order to build strong relationships, you need to have a decent level of emotional intelligence. You should aim to be thoughtful, listen to others, communicate openly, have empathy towards others and be self-aware. Avoid being fake and telling people what they want to hear. Be honest, genuine and assertive with people and tell them how you feel in a professional and respectful manner. If you think someone is not the right fit for your networking objectives, find a way to leave the conversation without being rude. Smiling and letting someone know that you have to make a quick call or go to the restroom is an easy way to leave an uncomfortable or boring conversation. When networking at an event, you should ask people questions about themselves and their company. Spending a conversation talking about yourself isn’t a good way to get to know someone and build relationships.
Building strong relationships is integral to growing a business. The more referrals you make to other people, the more referrals you are going to get. If you show others that you genuinely care about them and their success, they are more apt to want to do business with you or send their friends and clients to you.
For those looking for a job, networking is a means to finding your next opportunity. You never know who you are going to meet and what doors that person may open for you. Try not to be nervous in a room full of people. Find a simple way to start a conversation, such as asking about what the person is drinking or complimenting their shoes or jewelry. You could ask a simple question like do you know where the restrooms are, or have you seen so and so? Finding a way into a conversation is quite simple and is easy if you smile, be yourself and treat others the way you want to be treated.
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