It is important in the world of business that we know how to network – and knowing how to network better, is.. well, better!
Networking involves relationship building and is essentially about getting to know people who can help you develop your career prospects. Lahle explains that “When building networks you must give something back”. In order for the relationship to be sustainable, both parties must benefit.”
You don’t have to be the smartest or the most outgoing person in the room to network efficiently but here are our top 3 skills you can focus on improving to ensure you are getting the best out of your networking sessions, conferences and events.
1. Communication Skills
Having good communications skills is essential when it comes to networking. In it’s simplest form, communicaton involves the movement of information from one place to another. In terms of networking, it involves people speaking and sharing information with one another. This can be face-to-face during a networking meet-up, conference or event or on online social media channels such as LinkedIn.
Consider the following communication tips when you are in a networking scenario:
- Good communicators speak clearly and not too fast.
- Share information in a clear, concise and easily understood manner.
- Don’t forget about the importance of non-verbal gestures when it comes to communicating. Your body language, pitch and tone of voice sets the way for the relationship you are trying to build.
2. Interpersonal Skills
Interpersonal skills can be explained as behaviours and qualities which we illustrate when communicating with others.
As we have mentioned above, it is imperative that we know how to speak well when networking, but arguably more important, we shouldn’t neglect learning how to listen properly. When thinking about how you can network better, being a good listener should be top of the list.
Here are a few things you can do to show that you are actively listening:
- Nod your head when you agree with your conversation partner
- If you disagree, wait for a break of silence to make your argument, don’t interrupt
- Hold eye contact
- Avoid fidgeting
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
You may be a bit surprised by this one but having good time management skills are important when learning how to network better. Networking and relationship building takes a lot of time of effort. It may be a good idea to do some research on who is attending a networking meet-up or conference prior to the event. This gives you an idea of who you would like to converse with. There is nothing worse than rushing through conversations in order to meet and chat with more people.
Another point to remember is that it takes time to build relationships. 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.” You shouldn’t expect to walk into a networking event and have everyone know your business straight away, therefore, expecting results. This is not realistic.
How can Orangeworks help you?
In order to network better and build key relationships, we recommend focusing on the skills mentioned above. Having good interpersonal, time management and communication skills all come hand in hand when trying to build networks.
Orangeworks offer a range of interactive business games designed to help delegates improve their skills and get them networking better.