How to Network
5 Tips on Making Great Connections
We’ve talked about why networking is so important, and where the best places to network are, but that all means nothing unless you know how to network. A lot of people think you’re either born an extrovert or you’re not, but you can absolutely learn to be more charismatic with practice. Networking is a skill just like anything else, and you have to do it in order to be good at it. The bad news is, you’re going to have to approach people. The good news is, not all of it has to be in person. You can even do some networking from the comfort of your chair!
Here are 5 tips on how to be a great networker:
1. Be a Wing(wo)man. If you’re nervous about approaching people, find a buddy who is really comfortable networking and be their wingman. You’ll learn a lot and meet people by being at someone’s side.
2. Become a Connector. Other people around you are probably nervous and uncomfortable too. So, after you make acquaintances, help connect them to others. You can get comfortable by helping others break out of their comfort zone.
3. Exchange Cards. Yes, this is old school, but it still works. I don’t network as much as I used to, but I still take and exchange business 1UP: Be respectful and don’t interrupt a conversation to give someone your card. Your etiquette will definitely be noted.
4. Create an Online Presence. Write a blog, record a podcast, beef up your social media accounts, and update your LinkedIn profile so it’s exciting and people want to reach out to you. If you want to connect, give people something to connect with. An online presence is a great start – now bring your own personality into it. Generic is boring and inauthentic.
5. Interact Online. Interact with and respond to other people’s online presence. We all build profiles because we want to engage with others. So engage! Just be friendly and polite about it. Put another way: don’t be an asshole.
Now that you know how to network, get out there and put it into practice. Not sure where to start? Check out my posts on where to network and why it’s so important! Want to get some reps in? Join my Essential Leadership Skills Masterclass or connect with a group of like-minded leaders with my Leadership Mastermind program!