How to Master Networking

How To Master Networking

If you were to list the many skills that an entrepreneur needs to have, that list would be a long one, and depending on your own ideas and preferences, everyone will probably have something different at the top of the list.

However, perhaps the thing that most people – or all people – should have at the top is networking; it’s such an important part of running (and growing) a business that it really does have to be featured somewhere on your to-do list, and it can make so much difference that it does deserve a place at the top – it’s non-negotiable. 

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Yet a lot of entrepreneurs don’t even think about networking, and they certainly don’t think of it as being all that important – after all, isn’t it just mingling with other people and then leaving again? How can that be useful?

Well, the fact is that networking is a lot more than that, and when it’s done right, it can open many doors that would have been closed or even locked before. With that in mind, here are some things you can do to master networking and make sure you make the most of the opportunities you’re given. 

Master Networking

Master Networking: Be Prepared And Professional

When you’re going to networking events or industry events or meetings, the key thing to remember is to always be prepared and to arrive with everything you’re going to need. This means you need to have an elevator pitch already prepared (that’s a short, perhaps 30-second, pitch about your business).

It’s called an elevator pitch because you’re meant to be able to give it if you found yourself in an elevator with a potential investor or partner. For example, you need to know which people you particularly want to talk to, and you need to bring all the necessary materials with you. 

One of those materials has to be your business card, and if you don’t have any, make sure you get some printed – if you’re short on time, you can even get fast business cards, so there’s no reason why you can’t be completely prepared before you arrive at the event or head to the meeting.

Business cards are great because you can quickly hand them out and suddenly the other person has all the information they need (assuming you’ve been clever with the design), and a good business card can leave a lasting impression. 

Use Social Media

Since social media is such a big thing, why not use it to your advantage when it comes to networking?

Not only are you highly likely to find plenty of people on each different platform to network with, but you don’t even have to leave your home or office to do it. You can even connect with people on the go if you use an app to access the various social media platforms available.

That’s going to save you time and money, and maybe even make you more motivated to try networking in the first place – using social media to do it doesn’t feel like such a pressurized environment, and you might be more comfortable making connections that way than you would face to face. 

The key is to be active so people get to know you; you can’t just connect with people or join groups and then watch passively or never check in again – instead, you need to participate in discussions, share useful information and insights, and generally be a friendly approachable kind of person who knows their stuff.

It might not happen right away, but over time you’ll tend to find that you start to become seen as an expert in your field, which is certainly going to help your business, and you’ll also be able to connect more easily with important people who can help you grow, so it’s a win-win. 

Mastering Networking

Follow Up

Don’t just assume that once you’ve connected with someone that’s the end of it and all the good things you want to happen will happen – you do need to keep working on your connections, and following up on any meetings or online connections you make is crucial.

Remember, if you’re busy, so is everyone else, and that means that even if they were really interested in working with you or talking further about something, time can slip away and in the end, they might just forget. 

That’s why it’s so important you don’t forget, and you take control of the situation by following up. It’s a good idea to have a system in place so that you reach out after a specific amount of time has gone by, and you do it for everyone you come into contact with.

In that way, you’re not going to miss anyone out and you’re giving everyone the same chance to get in touch. 

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