10 Tips for Mastering the Art of Business Networking

10 Tips for Mastering the Art of Business Networking

Regardless of your career goals, business networking is a skill you need in your arsenal. Networking is the process of building relationships that can help you advance your career. This will often involve interacting with people you have never met. If the prospect daunts you, however, you are not alone. Networking is a nerve-wracking experience for the best of us. Fortunately, you do not need to be a master businessman or the life of the party to be a competent networker. Here are 10 tips to help you master the networking basics.

1) Network as often as you can

Every interaction can become a networking opportunity. In fact, the most fruitful opportunities are often the ones found outside of job fairs and conferences. Networking frequently is the key to making it feel like second nature.

2) Find business networking opportunities through the people you already know

We often find the best business networking opportunities from those already in our circles. Identify people likely to vouch for you and branch off those connections to build more.

3) Prepare answers to the questions you’re likely to get

Take the time to practice your responses to commonly asked questions. Even conversations need a warm up. Walking into your networking opportunity cold is a great way to fumble over your words and leave a lackluster impression.

4) Direct the conversation toward topics you are passionate about

Passion is not only infectious, but it leaves a lasting impression as well. People are unlikely to enjoy their interaction with you if you yourself don’t seem particularly enthusiastic. Think about relevant topics that get you excited and make them the highlight of your conversation.

5) Don’t pretend to be the person you think they want

We often assume that people are looking for someone who is outgoing or has a gut-busting sense of humor. This is not always the case, and sometimes even the opposite is true, so showcase strengths you do have, as there is nothing less funny than an unfunny person trying to be one.

6) Remember, the conversation isn’t all about you

No one is interested in having a conversation they can’t be an equal part of. So, ask questions. That is the surest way to show them that you are interested in what they have to say.

7) Prepare plenty of business cards

You might feel embarrassed about handing someone a business card. Don’t be. They mark you as a professional and give people an easy way to hold onto your contact information.

8) Go beyond what’s on your resume

Any face-to-face time is a valuable chance to share the selling points that aren’t on your resume and to provide context to the ones that are. Give your resume that much needed human touch.

9) Offer to help

When you do people favors without asking for anything in return, they will often feel naturally inclined to reciprocate.

10) Follow up – and not just once

Chances are, if you’re networking with someone, others are too. He or she might be too busy to get back to you. Take the initiative and reach out. Once they’ve responded, keep the conversation going. It may be business, but it is still a relationship you will need to maintain.

Remember, anyone can learn how to network well, regardless of their personality or demeanor. As with any skill, though, networking has a certain learning curve, and there is so much more to it than can be captured within a single article. That is why YesGurus helps professionals by connecting them with coaches. Contact YesGurus to learn more and build the career you’ve always wanted.

Author: Jason Kim

Jason Kim is a multidisciplinary writer living in Los Angeles, California. He earned his bearings in Psychology at the University of California – Berkeley, where he studied under forerunners in the field and conducted research on various topics, including sleep and mood disorders and social dynamics. There is nothing he enjoys more than writing pieces that improve the lives of his readers.

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