How to Develop Strong Networking Skills
Having strong networking skills can drive your career towards success. It can help you land jobs faster and will give you a competitive edge in terms of career or business. Below are the reasons why networking is essential and why you should develop strong networking skills.
What is networking
According to Investopedia, “Networking is the exchange of information and ideas among people with a common profession or special interest, usually in an informal social setting.”
You usually hear “networking” used by professionals to expand their contacts or circle of acquaintances and to find out more job opportunities in their field. This is also the same for business owners. They develop a strong network with people or other organizations that they might do business in the future.
How can networking help you become successful?
Networking has always been an important aspect during a job search and in advancing in any career. Studies show that 80% of jobs are not listed or published and only found in networking. In fact, employee referrals have the highest applicant to hire conversion rate – only 7% apply, but this accounts for 40% of all hires.
Networking is all about building authentic relationships with people and maintaining, establishing, and nurturing long-term. Which makes networking a critical factor in business’ net worth? This is because leaders prefer to be involved in important transactions with people they trust.
Is personality a key to successful networking?
Many people dread networking. It can be time-consuming and awkward on some occasions, especially for those who are introverted. Introverts get sensitive to environments that are loud and crowded such as networking-type events. As a result, it depletes the introvert’s energy and creates anxiety.
On the other hand, extroverts have a high energy-spending nervous system that can withstand large crowds as they have a higher drive for social attention. However, even though they are a people person, they may sometimes appear intimidating and aggressive as they take over a conversation.
If you are not-so-confident with your networking skills, you can still improve and develop strong networking skills and build relationships with your acquaintances.
5 tips for building strong networking skills
1. Improve interpersonal skills
Interpersonal skills help you create a good relationship with people. It is a soft skill that we use to communicate and interact effectively. Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the foundation of interpersonal skills. For you to have strong networking skills, you must develop your interpersonal skill.
Learning how to improve your interpersonal skills allows you to make positive choices on how you interact with people. This is because you are more aware and have more control of your thoughts, feelings, and actions, and how it will affect others. Having interpersonal skills will also help you sense the needs of others.
2. Develop communication skills
Communication is the core of networking. It is the key to building and maintaining a harmonious and productive relationship with your clients, partners, and vendors. You must practice improving your communication skills to strengthen your connection and maintain a positive relationship with people. You can achieve this by communicating regularly with them to establish trust and loyalty.
Communication skills involve speaking appropriately, clearly, and concisely with a wide variety of people. Honing your communication skill will help you effectively perform conversation in a wide range of situations, such as networking.
You can develop communication skills fast by enrolling in an Effective Communication online course. You will learn important facts about communication, levels of listening, how to ask questions, expressing empathy, and more.
3. Meet people through referrals
The best and easiest way to meet people is through other people or referrals. Sometimes you need to pull some strings to help you with networking. Spend a lot of time with people who have connections with the people you want to meet. You will most likely receive a warm welcome and introduction to the person you include in your network list.
You will also notice that the person is more comfortable speaking to you because you are not a complete stranger. After all, you know a common person. Referrals are the most important leads you can get, especially when it comes to business.
According to statistics from Social Media Today, 78% of B2B marketers say referral programs generate leads to good or excellent quality, while 60% of marketers say it generates a high volume of leads.
4. Practice active listening
Show that you value what the other person is saying by practicing active listening. Allow them to speak first and let them finish talking. Active listening means you are concentrating on the message of the speaker by giving your full attention.
Becoming an active listener makes you an effective communicator, builds a strong relationship with people, solves problems, ensures understanding, and resolves conflicts, which will lead you to success. Below are some tips to be an active listener.
- Maintain eye contact with the speaker.
- Be attentive.
- Concentrate on what the speaker is saying.
- Refrain from giving advice without permission.
- Summarize what you hear.
- Ask questions to ensure understanding.
- Encourage the speaker with your positive feedback.
5. Get out of your comfort zone and make networking a regular activity
You will not be able to develop strong networking skills unless you take action. You can start by reaching out to one person every day and just talk and start a conversation. Don’t ask a favor at your first meeting. Instead, show that you are interested in what they do. Let your conversation flow naturally until that person becomes comfortable with you and trust you.
Remember that networking takes time. You need to be strategic about how you establish your connections with people who can potentially help you with your career or business.
Learn the basics of networking and boost your likeability with Personal And Business Networking Skills – Maximize Your Success online course. Discover the secrets of the world’s best networkers and powerful tools that will skyrocket your career or business.