It is important as businessmen and women that we know how to network properly – and knowing how to network better, is.. well, better!
Networking is about relationship building and should never feel like your trying to sell yourself or your product to the person you are speaking with. Lahle explains that “When building networks you must give something back”. In order for the relationship to be sustainable, both parties must benefit.”
So, this week we are sharing with you our top 3 things you may need to improve on ensuring that you know how to network better.
1. Communication Skills
Communications skills are so important when it comes to networking. Communication, in it’s simplest nature, is moving information from one place to another. Communication in networking generally involves one person speaking and sharing information with another person. This may be face-to-face during a networking meet-up or event or online through forums or social media channels like LinkedIn.
Here’s what we recommend to take note of when you are communicating in a networking scenario:
- Being a good communicator involves speaking clearly and not too fast.
- Ensure that you are sharing information in a clear, concise, easily understood manner.
- Non-verbal gestures are also very important when it comes to networking. Your body language, tone and pitch of voice can really set the tone of the relationship you are trying to build.
Check out another blog we have written, if you need more help on developing your communication skills.
2. Interpersonal Skills
A recent article explains interpersonal skills as behaviours and qualities which we showcase when communicating with others. When learning how to network better, it is important that we learn how to speak well but also and arguably more important, how to listen well. Being a good listener should definitely be a key takeaway networking tip when considering things you need to improve on.
A few things you can do to show you are actively listening are:
- Nod your head in agreement, if you disagree, don’t interrupt but wait for a break of silence
- Avoid fidgeting
- Hold eye contact
Another key way to show you are listening is to repeat key points that your conversation partner has mentioned and ask questions related to the points. This shows you are actively engaged, listening and interested in what they have to say.
3. Time Management Skills
It may seem unorthodox, but having good time management skills are important when learning how to network better. Networking takes a lot of time and effort. The worst thing you can do is try to rush through a conversation in order to meet and chat with more people. It may be of use to do some research on who will be at the networking meet-up or event and know beforehand who you would like to converse with. That way you will have factored in time to speak to everyone and won’t have to rush through conversations.
Another tip is to understand that it takes time to build relationships. Don’t expect to enter a networking event and have everyone know your business straight away, therefore, expecting results. Jennifer Kelly says:“Knowing that it’ll take time to build up trust with people and for them to get to know you is an important first step.”
So why do we need networking skills?
In order to know how to network better and build key relationships with people, it is imperative to focus on the skills mentioned above. Having good communcation, interpersonal and time management skills all come hand in hand when trying to build networks.
Orangeworks offers a range of interactive business games designed to help delegates improve their communication and time management skills.
Check out ‘The Infinite Loop’ in particular, or if you need a hand choosing, contact us via the button below!