Networking is the buzz of today’s world and it forms an essential part of your life.
Just think of yourself without networks and what your chances of survival are!!
It is as essential as having your food every day. Today there are various means of networking compared to a period when there were no smart phones or World Wide Web service.
a) It’s a way to meet inaccessible people. You would have observed there is not more than 4 to 5 people between you and the person you want to meet.
b) It’s one way to get your business moving ahead. Without referrals it is impossible to get your products or your sales to move ahead.
c) It’s a way to land you in a good job. Around 60- 80% of people land in good jobs through networking. It helps you to find out about the company, the people, the boss and also the environment.
d) It’s a way to help you widen your knowledge hub. Networking helps you to widen your professional knowledge or else you will be stagnating!!
e) It’s a mode of helping you to analyze your career choices that you may take. Sometimes, by discussing with your networks you will be able to refine your search for career advancements.
Now when it comes to networking, we come across the introverts, extroverts, and the shy ones. That does not mean that the introverts perform badly in their circumstances.
The introverts are better listeners and inquisitive. The shy ones are the ‘socially backward’ personalities.
The introverts just may not make better networks when compared to the extroverts who have flair for talking their way through.
Networking Tips for Introverts:
Get yourself to attend gatherings and parties so that you get to learn the techniques of networking.
Attending gatherings, seminars, technical symposiums, workshops, training, family parties, official gatherings etc. are some forms of networking.
Now, you will be thinking what to wear and how to talk there. So, what do the extroverts have that they are capable of. Let’s see some of the characteristics required for it.
1. First contacts:
Be alert as to the type of contacts that you may encounter. There may be an opportunity to have network!!
2. Where to look for:
Networks are all around you. Your worthwhile contacts are the best sources of networks like your school and college friends, your doctor, your neighbors, your colleagues or boss, your club members. So consider them all in this journey.
3. Getting introduced:
At networking events, you may have fear of introducing yourself and talking about yourself. In such a case, ask the organizer of the event or any person you know as extrovert to introduce you to some of the people around.
This will help you, as people would pay more attention when the event organizer himself introduces you to others.
4. Know about the event:
It’s always better to know about the event that you are going to attend. Based on the event you should be able to prepare yourself mentally. In general, whatever be the type of event you are attending, you can prepare some questions about the travel or the food.
Most of the people would have traveled far and wide or have interest in tastes of the cuisine around. This is to just break the ice!!
5. Pressure off with time limit:
It’s always wise to set yourself time limits for any event that you may attend. You can commit for specific time limit so that it is easier to go through quickly.
You would have to meet a set of people and that’s it!
6. Decide about the numbers:
Nevertheless, you should be having a beneficial and good conversation. It’s about the quality of the conversation and not the numbers.
7. Good listening:
The practice of listening is very imperative to be able to build networks. No one would like themselves being put forward through a volley of questions and then find themselves not being heeded to their answers.
Because by listening you are putting yourself in their shoes and connect with their feelings. This is a good rapport to be developed. People remember better when you listen well!!
How do networks develop is through sheer practice. Every time you go to a grocers, your office or bank, watch man, security, neighbors, try connecting with people.
Sharing some small thoughts with them will help to know how to talk and make connections. A simple “Hi, How is your day today?” will be able to make you to know how to proceed ahead.
The other side will have a feeling that you show interest in their well being. By doing so, you will make a new connection.
9. Personal stories:
Sometimes, sharing a personal story with the gesture that was commented will help to connect better.
Instead of just stopping your conversation with just a ‘Hi’, ‘Thank you’, ‘Bye’ try to add a few sentences of your personal story can help to bond more.
Like, “Hi, this colour looks good on you”. or “This dress was chose by my mother” etc.
10. Take companion:
In case you are going to event and not sure about how to push yourself through, then take a friend or relative with you who would be having the characteristics of extrovert.
This will help you to boost your confidence and make your voice to be heard. It will help to clear the fear in you. This is another step towards making good network.
11. Scan for people:
You would have noticed that some professional talkers would keep their group active with their conversations but in between their eyes are always on the lookout for more new faces. It’s like scanning for gaining more people into the network.
It’s not that easy to do because sometimes we get too engrossed in our conversations and forget what our purpose was. Try to do it with your friends and when you spot someone, do take them into the group.
12. Returning a favour:
Many a times it is seen that once a friend or network is created, the first thing that goes into our mind is asking for a favour. This may at times lead to bitterness, but if the friend is really a reliable person then you may not have to face such a situation.
It’s always better to offer a help and then ask for favour. This will not only enhance your relationships but also help to keep a strong reliable network.
13. Building a rapport:
Building a good network always needs to be started off with some positive notes. In the initial stage of creating your network, ensure that you speak their tone and be positively spoken.
Positively spoken means to show that you agree with their thoughts. Once, your network develops strongly, then you can have contrarian thoughts or views expressed.
14. Watch the body language:
By watching the way the groups behave, you need to know whether you are into the group or out of it.
If the network is closely knit, then probably they might not want to add you into them unless, of course, your attitude matches theirs!
Keep off in case they are not accepting your terms. In case the group is deliberately avoiding in spite of you standing around them then it’s wise to move somewhere else.
15. Start early:
Developing a network requires special skill on its own. This is a habit that needs to start from a young age.
The more you learn how to do it better, the more your chances of success. Hence start now when you are young.
By the time you are 45-50 and you don’t have these skills, it will hurt you the most when you are desperately searching for a job or a change in your career. That moment you would feel that you should have done it before.
16. Keep in touch:
Once your network is created then you must try to keep in touch at least on regular basis. It’s of no use when you tend to forget once you create contacts.
You should not be a person who calls only when you require a favour. That’s a sign of bad networking.
17. Be patient:
Try to be keep your patience at par when trying to network. You would have made friends but there are times when that friend might not be very happy with your remarks. Don’t be going overboard with them.
Being patient with their patterns will help you in long run. You might not know that this friend could be a gateway to your future.
18. Wear a smile:
Smile will only say that you are casual person and comfortable to converse with.
So relax and wear a beautiful smile when you are in gatherings. You may not know that you could open the door to a whole new network!
19. Look ahead:
Try to challenge yourself with making new friends always. By looking ahead to events means it’s a sign of creating networks.
Look out for new events where there is chance for making new friends and new networks. This shows that you are ready to come out of your comfort zone.
20. Make others comfortable:
Every one in the group or gatherings are in the same boat as you are. So what are you waiting for?
You might notice one or two people sitting alone or standing alone in the corner. Take step to go out to them and speak.
Start with topics that are comfortable for you to speak about. This will also make the other person comfortable.
So whether you are introvert or extrovert, networking is first scary. Once the techniques are learnt through, then you will become familiar with how to approach and how to get about maintaining your networks.
By having review of the above points you could make yourself convert from an introvert, if you are, to an extrovert. All you will need is a little bit of courage and self-confidence to make yourself a better person. By doing so you will make yourself feel as a positive being and move ahead.
Nowadays, networking is easier with many social sites, business networking sites and forums where you can get information on the trends in the business or /and industry. Through these sites you could maintain your presence online. The only requirement is to maintain a barrier between your professional and personal presence online. But there is nothing like getting a face to face interaction once in a while as these interactions gives a personal touch to keeping your friendship alive. After all good network is all about your circle of friends.