Throughout your life, you’ll find many opportunities to attend events, conferences and even parties where you can meet highly influential people. Networking is one of the reasons why these people attend such events. A lot of us look down upon networking because we feel we have to be “fake,” pretending to be someone we are not. Don’t be shy about networking and aligning yourself with such people. Most people you meet expect to network and will be looking for the same.
How to Network Like a Pro
What makes people influential is the relationships they’ve built through mutual respect and interest. Ultimately, networking is about belief in your work and sharing it with others for mutual benefit. Here, we lend a few tips on how to network successfully.
1 Don’t Be A Greasy Door-To-Door Schmoozer
Networking, like any other relationship, is nurtured around mutual liking, respect, or common interests. It becomes much easier to ask people for help when you’ve built that trust. You’re not overstepping personal boundaries, you’re simply asking for a favor from a friend. To be successful at networking, you must see the process as a two-way street. That person can ask favors, too!
As Ramit Sethi, finance expert and author of The New York Times bestseller I Will Teach You to Be Rich, bears this out: “Building real relationships is about investing in them[people] first, figuring out what they want and love, and then helping them get it—not instantly expecting a magical job offer. In fact, most of the ‘networking’ you do will simply be helping people and getting nothing back in return.”
2 Offer Something Grand
In order to show your expertise effective to the people who will become a part of your growing network, you must allow them to get to know you. This can be done through a series of strategies. But you shouldn’t habitualize to a single networking strategy. While performing all of these networking strategies, you must remember that you’re involving yourself with real people.
Create a website. It is not expensive, and there are myriad free sites that allow you to build one. Post your content there. It is essential to have a digital profile in today’s connected world. If you are not in the ether, you are invisible is the philosophy nowadays. So create a digital presence.
Engage with your potential clients, customers, and even business associates on Twitter and Instagram. Snapchat is another suitable medium to keep a narrative going. It teases people into delving into your work.
3 Helper’s High
As Adam Grant in his book GIVE AND TAKE puts it, “If we create networks with the sole intention of getting something, we won’t succeed. We can’t pursue the benefits of networks; the benefits ensue from investments in meaningful activities and relationships.”
Find ways to help people. Do them favors. When you meet someone new, make a note of their talent and goals. Keep an eye out for opportunities for them. If you help them, you won’t have to remind them that they owe you a favor. They’ll always remember. The idea is not to owe people favors but to become a kind person that is known for helping others.
“Being a giver is not good for a 100-yard dash, but it’s valuable in a marathon,” writes Grant.
4 Confidence In Your Work
Very few creative people are extroverts, except for those in performance arts. Do not believe that your work will speak for itself. You need to put yourself out there and talk about what you are doing and how it all came about. It is about being your own brand ambassador. Show the passion you feel for your craft. If you are passionate and confident about what you do, people will undoubtedly respond and will want to work with you.Even your body language matters. If you are retiring and apologetic or even too aggressive and condescending to your audience, then it puts off people.
5 Spread Your Wings
Being in a field where you are creatively and artistically self-sufficient, it kind of isolates you. It is imperative that you focus your energies not only on the craft but on sharing it and ultimately earning from it. A good way is to be part of some association, a forum of like-minded people, or an organization. Attend gatherings, shows, talks, and interact. These meetings build your network, keep you updated and informed, and one can even observe veterans in their craft, and how they socialize and network.
Suggest one-to-one meetings whenever you feel that a person is genuinely interested in your craft and is asking questions. A relaxed atmosphere is always conducive to building bridges and future leads.