With the recent explosion of social media and instant messaging, we seem to be becoming more and more connected but, at the same time, less connected in essence.
We are building relationships hiding behind computer, tablet, and mobile phone screens, and most people never make that extra effort to take the relationship from online to real, face to face.
However, nothing can replace a personal contact.
The real impact with the key people in your business, work, and personal life is made face to face. This is when things can really progress in building relationships, that’s where you can actually feel the energy of the other person and connect with them on a different level looking into their eyes.
And don’t get me wrong: I love social media, apps, and the Internet. They make our lives so much easier and our marketing efforts a lot more targeted and effective if used properly. Facebook and LinkedIn are a blessing for making new connections. What’s more, if you are a business owner, these platforms allow you to market your product or service in a very targeted way, seize new opportunities and also nurture and build further the relationships with people you already know.
Though, most people today have taken this illusion of online relationships to a whole new level. They think they can sustain friendships through a messenger and Facebook only. They think business relationships are about e-mailing and messaging.
They will even see one of their Facebook friends somewhere standing next to them, in the supermarket or at an event and will not even dare to walk up to them and say “Hello”. I find this ridiculous: why are you ‘friends’ on Facebook in the first place if you don’t even plan to walk up to the person and talk to them seeing them live in front of you?
You never know what doors a real, authentic, face-to-face conversation can open until you make that contact, that face to face personal impact.
The best ways to get out of the illusion of online relationships and grow your networks is building real relationships, with authentic people who are interested in connecting with you. You can do this by consciously setting a goal to go out and network at events and specialized social gatherings where you can find people with the same interests or business contacts who are looking to meet someone who is offering what you have to offer.
Taking action and putting yourself out there to meet new people, in new places, is the only way you can meet the right people and grab the right opportunities.
So here are my 5 main business networking tips that will help you improve your networking skills and make you a top networker, at any kind of event.
1. KNOW YOUR VALUE
Be self-confident from the inside out. If you go to an event with low self-confidence worrying about what others will think of you, being unsure and concerned about your image, this is the vibe you will give out. When you enter a room knowing your true value from the inside out, then people pick up that vibe and become naturally attracted to you (if they are vibrating on the same positive frequency). This step has everything to do with your inner world and what’s going on in your mind before you go to an event or meeting.
2. HAVE A CLEAR INTENTION ABOUT WHO YOU WANT TO CONNECT WITH AND WHY
Having a clear networking goal or strategy will help you be at the right places, where you can connect with the right people. If you are in business, who is your ideal client and where would he or she be hanging out? If you are looking to make new friends and contacts, what are your hobbies and interests? Hang out at a place where you can meet people with the same interests. And if you want to progress with your networking fast, a very basic tip is always to connect with connectors in your area of interest. Connectors are the people who know a lot of people within a network you would like to enter.
3. BE PRESENT AND LISTEN
Be genuinely interested in people when you are talking to them, instead of being interested in talking about yourself. Ask questions and listen. And put your phone away. Don’t look at your phone when you are in a conversation with another person as it will subconsciously give them a message that you lack attention and that you are not interested in what they are saying. Pay attention to the individual you are talking to. This is so basic and so effective, yet most people do not know how to give their full attention to others and act as an attention seeker instead. Don’t make the same mistake since such tactic is not what will get you the result in building relationships.
4. GIVE YOUR ENERGY
You are not at a networking event or a meeting to take from others; you are there to give value and connect. Effective networkers know how to add value to their network, and they are never pushy. Once you add value to a person when you are talking to them (maybe you can connect them with someone they are interested in meeting or offer something that will help them in their work), then they will automatically want to add value to you, without you having to do any asking.
5. NETWORK WHEN YOU ARE THE BUSIEST
Finally, you should make new connections and build new relationships when you have so many customers that you can’t handle, when you are so busy that you don’t need more business. That’s when new clients will be most attracted to you. Not when you are desperate to get clients or a job. People will feel that desperation on a subconscious level. Remember that when you run after money, the money will run away from you. When you run after people, people will most likely run away from you too.