Networking Tips For The 21st Century

It’s not about what you know but who you know – this is more apt in today’s times than any other. You might have the skill and the knowledge. But to find employment or get ahead in your business, it is important to know the right people. Professional platforms like Linkedin are made with the sole aim of widening your network.

Although I have written about this topic on this blog and elsewhere, I find – like many other topics I’ve taken up again for the challenge – I have so much more to share. So in this post, I am going to include the previous resources and also talk about some newer aspects of networking.

Let’s begin:

1. Build your network before you need it. This is something we all know but tend to ignore. Networking is hard work. One can’t just call up someone one fine day and expect business. Connect with people, interact with them and build a relationship.

2. Give: This is one of the cardinal principles of networking and building relationships. Be the first to bring value to the relationship. Send people resources they might find useful – don’t spam them though. Share information from their domain of expertise that might interest them. It is proven that when you’ve done something for someone, he/she is more willing to help you when it’s their turn.

3. Follow up: I can’t emphasise this enough. In fact. I wrote a post on following up during this challenge. One cursory conversation during a networking meeting is not going to lead to a relationship. It is vital that we zero in on people we have things in common with and meet up again, get to know each other better, explore common ground or offer to help in which ever way possible.

The following resources have tons of information to make a pro in networking:

Here are 7 tips to keep in mind for effective networking

Also, 6 things you should never do at networking events

If you want to build your brand on Linkedin from scratch, here is how to build a powerful profile on Linkedin

Here is a video – one of the first videos for my channel – which demonstrates networking gaffe in quite an interesting manner!

If you want to start networking, there is no dearth of options around. Linkedin is a great place to network online. Business Network International (BNI) – as the name suggests – is a huge network for people who want to make business contacts. You can find a chapter near you. A word of caution: BNI takes the business of business quite seriously. So members need to be on their toes about it.

Toastmasters International is a great place to develop your public speaking skills and meet like minded people. Find a chapter near you and join. You can always research a bit to find local clubs related to your job or interests. I’m sure there are plenty to choose from.

This post is a part of A to Z of soft skills for #AtoZChallenge. I’m talking about 26 skills in 26 days and how to improve on them. Feel free to look around the blog for other skills I have written about so far. Do share and tell others about it too.

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