If you are in a career or you are a business owner, you will know that networking is a very popular form of communication, learning and meeting new people. However, you may believe that networking is all about a small business selling their product/service/program right?
Well… no it’s not. Don’t get me wrong, you may have had an experience where you’ve been to a networking event and this has been the case. But we assure you that all networking events look and end up like this.
If you’re not taking advantage of the networking events in your niche, then personally or collaboratively – you will not grow as a person or company. Lacking skills and confidence can be a major factor in why people don’t attend networking events – so we’re here to help you improve your networking skills this year!
What are Networking Skills?
Exchanging information, ideas and possibilities with other people you have never met before may seem daunting – but if you’re looking for long-term success and the benefits of having good people on your side to the top, networking is paramount.
Networking skills are essentially the abilities and competencies you need to maintain and build interpersonal relationships. What networking skills will enhance is the ability to communicate on a two-way structure. Meaning that you will know when to listen – and when to talk. Not only that but it will help add minor detailed questions to your arsenal to get more out of conversations and help you develop into creating a more gripping conversation.
Gaining networking skills should be developed as a habit for your professional and personal goals if you’re wanting to level up your life and way of moving forward in a more calculated way.
Tips to Improve Your Networking Skills
How to be good at networking? This is the question you may ask. Well, when it comes to networking skills, they cover a range of listening, speaking and mental skills which will help you in several situations over your lifetime. Here are some of the recommended networking skills that we believe are most crucial when you attend a networking event and how you can improve on them:
We believe this is the most important skill to have when going to networking events! If you’re not able to listen to someone express how they feel or their business or personal goals – then how are you going to know how to help or add value to their life in any way shape or form.
Additionally, most people don’t want to listen to someone constantly talking at them without any response. Conversations don’t go that way – so if you’ve thought about going to a networking event and bragging about your achievements and having no time to listen to other people, then it won’t work out well.
Being an active listener in the conversation is essential to the success of the interaction. Talking for 50% of the time and listening for 50% of the time will make for a more thoughtful, impactful and meaningful conversation.
Having a friendly personality and a positive attitude towards others (even if you’re slightly shy) will always draw more attention towards you or your group – as everyone enjoys positive energy and what comes with it. On the other hand, if someone at the networking event is negative and closed-minded, they will likely get less attention, connections and long-lasting relationships.
If you can turn a bad situation and put some positive light into it – people will always gravitate towards optimism. Being upbeat and believing things will get better no matter what is infectious to the human soul.
If they see positivity in you – that allows them to feel open because they will feel as though they can trust you more when it comes to business endeavours or personal life. This will always make for a better conversation as it will delve deeper into more details, creating more interesting responses.
In this day and age, it will not always be face-to-face interactions anymore as times have changed. Social media is upon us – where meetings can be set up through the likes of LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and many other platforms. Or customers and contacts can be made through likes, DM’s comments, etc.
Therefore, if you want to make your mark in the networking world, whether it be in marketing, sport or any other field of work – you need to become an expert in all forms of social communication.
In-person networking is very important and ultimately meeting in person leads to the biggest successes as a lot more factors come into play. For example, in person, you will see a person’s body language, tone of voice and eye contact. Whereas, on social media – this is impossible as it’s all about assumptions and trusting the legitimacy of the business.
Incorporating humour when you go to networking events ties in well with positivity as people will have something to remember you by. They will remember you as the positive, chirpy and charismatic person at the event – meaning there may be more chances of building a long-term relationship.
Overdoing humour can become annoying if it is performed at the wrong times – but if you time it correctly and pick your moments to make a joke with people, it can be appreciated. Humour is humanising and people look up to someone who is themself and not trying to look like the perfect person.
Being approachable in conversation can be the difference between meeting a new business partner or friend for many years – which could ultimately end up changing your life. This is why humour is so powerful as the regular person at their first networking event will see you as exciting and motivating.
All of these traits will be useful, not just at networking events but in daily life when meeting new people. The best thing about it is you can learn these skills for free by gaining experience in social situations to become a better version of yourself and maybe give out advice on this yourself one day!
Mark is a multi-award winner in business networking and relationship building. He is passionate about coaching and mentoring business owners and professionals through 1-1 & group coaching, team performance workshops and group mastermind sessions.