We are all marketers. We market our products, our services, but most importantly ourselves. The most proficient and successful professionals know their long-term success depends not just on their skills but on their ability to network and expand their professional circle. Networking is about making connections and establishing relationships. The more people you meet and get to know, the more opportunities you will create.
If you are not actively making new connections and widening your reach, you are selling yourself short. Working remotely or in person, there are many opportunities to network.
Network across multiple platforms
It is important to recognize that not everyone uses the same social media platforms and not everyone likes to communicate in the same way. To network effectively, become an expert at all forms of communications, from collaborating on Zoom, Google Meet, or Teams to sending emails and texts to chatting on Instagram or Twitter.
Another way to improve your networking skills is to learn to listen actively. This means not just thinking of what you want to say next but responding to other people in a way that shows you understand what they are saying. Do not just wait to respond, but rather respond to what the other person is saying. Maybe ask a question. This shows that you are thoughtful, empathetic, and invested in others, which is crucial to successful networking.
Being upbeat and friendly helps make you more likable and memorable. This, in turn, makes others more confident in your personal and business endeavors. Look for the possibilities, not the pitfalls. One way you can boost your optimism is by learning how to respond to negative circumstances with an upbeat outlook.
You do not have to be the funniest person in the room to use humor to your advantage. Anyone can work on developing their sense of humor to improve their networking. Having a good sense of humor goes hand in hand with showing optimism. Humor makes you more human and helps you connect with others on common ground. Just be sure to keep your humor clean and relatable.
Attend networking events
To improve your networking skills, attend networking events, and this includes virtual ones. Online trade shows, conferences and workshops allow you to practice your skills in a non-stress setting. Remember to keep your focus on building genuine connections with people and keeping things as organic as possible.
If you contribute to your company blog or you are conducting industry research, you can make new connections through interviews and virtual tours. Almost everyone is open to an interview if you pitch it correctly. By interviewing someone, you get a chance to get to know them better and demonstrate your values, optimism, and humor. If you do it well, your subjects will remember you.
Networking is a vital skill in sales. You can practice and refine your networking skills in several ways, from incorporating humor into your conversations to attending virtual networking events and asking to interview interesting people. Just like with anything else, the more you practice networking, the better you will get at it. And this will help you thrive.