10 Professional Networking Tips and Tricks to Build Stronger Connections
Subscribe to Articles
Building a strong professional network is one of the most important keys to success in business. You rely on your network to help you meet new people and to expand your business. However, building a strong professional network isn’t always easy and it takes time and effort. Here are 10 tips and tricks to help you build stronger connections within your professional network.
#1: Introduce yourself to people
The first step to building your network is to introduce yourself to people. Whether you are at a networking event, or a work or social gathering, don’t wait for people to come up to you. Take the time to mingle and get to know people. That doesn’t mean you work the room and introduce yourself to every single person there, but you should take the time to make a few genuine connections every time you have an opportunity. If you already know someone at the event, maybe they have a few connections they can introduce you to and vice versa.
#2: Let the other person speak
As you are meeting new people and making connections, you don’t want to control the conversation. Give the other person room to speak. You can, of course, ask questions and direct the conversation, but you don’t want to be the one that does the majority of the talking. Show your new connection that one of the strengths you can bring to your relationship is being a good listener. This will show them that if they have a problem or concern, you will listen to them before you try to help them solve it.
#3: Create authentic relationships
Don’t let your new connections be entirely superficial. Really take the time to get to know people and let them get to know you. It’s great to know a person’s work background, but ask some questions about their life outside of work, too. This will show them that you are interested in making a real connection rather than just wanting to know what they can do for you professionally.
#4: Exchange stories
One of the best ways to strengthen your relationship with new connections is by exchanging stories. This helps them to get a better understanding of you and the experiences you’ve had, and it allows you to get to know them and ask questions. These can be personal or professional stories; both of these allow you and your connection to form a more meaningful relationship based on shared experiences.
#5: Don’t ask for a job
The purpose of networking is not to find a new job; however, that can sometimes be a benefit of forming a solid network connection with someone. Getting a job should never be the ultimate reason you reach out to someone, so you never want to start forming a relationship by asking if they know of any job openings. After you have taken the time to get to know someone and you’ve built a good relationship with them, they should know if you are looking for opportunities and which types of jobs they can recommend you for.
#6: Be confident
Don’t be afraid to meet new people. Whether you are networking in person or online, you need to show that you have confidence in yourself. This will make the other person have more confidence in you, as well. If you come off as unsure of yourself, they could interpret that to mean you’re unsure of your business and then won’t support you or help promote your business to their other connections.
#7: Stay connected
Take the time to stay in contact with your network, even if that means setting aside time on your calendar once a week to send out a few texts or emails. This will show your network that you are interested in maintaining your connection for more than just when it suits your needs. If you put in the time and effort to maintain connections, it will allow your connections to strengthen and grow.
#8: Help others in your network
Don’t expect your network to help you if you aren’t willing to help others. You should always be looking for ways you can help others within your network. Even if it’s something small like introducing them to a new connection, these little gestures go a long way in building your network.
#9: Revisit older connections
If you have connections you haven’t spoken to in a while, take a few minutes to reach out to them. Ask how they are doing and offer to help them with any challenges they might be facing. Stay in contact with your older connections because these are the people who have seen you grow and develop in your career, and they will be able to vouch for you as you make new connections.
#10: Make new connections online
Don’t forget, not all connections have to be made in person. You can also make strong and valuable connections online using social media platforms such as LinkedIn. You will still want to build genuine relationships, but it’s a little easier to connect online for the less outgoing or more introverted person.
However you choose to build your network, it’s important to maintain these connections and put real effort into strengthening them. You have to show the people within your network that you’re willing to put in the effort and you are interested in maintaining your relationships.
If you’re looking to grow your network quickly, you can download our free Guide to Doubling Your LinkedIn Network in 30 Days.