Top 10 Most Valuable Networking Skills for Every Professional
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The Most Valuable Networking Skills
Create Real Friendships with Quality Connections
The first thing you need to do with networking is to shift your focus more on the people, not your potential opportunities. It can be very obvious to people when you are reaching out to them because you have something to gain. Instead, try to get to know the person you are speaking to a little bit. One useful relationship strategy is to be fully “on” in the moment. This means focusing yourself fully on what is happening in the meeting.
Another way to get to know people on a more personal level is to ask them about their family, friends, and interests. People love to talk about themselves, even outside of the professional realm. When you learn more personal details about the people you are networking with, it will make it so much easier to see them as more than just connections or opportunities.
Do Informal Interviews
Interview skills are a vital element of networking. These interview skills are helpful in many situations, not just in journalism or public relations. If you speak to your conversation partner in the Q&A format, for example, it will help you develop your listening skills, which will determine what your next question may be. This skill is essential to conducting good interviews and networking.
Listen with Intent
The practice of listening with intent to your networking partner to pick up relevant information is called active listening. The key is to get in the habit of practicing active listening at all times, not just in the work environment.
Face it, people are attracted to others with optimistic attitudes. The language you use while networking can also determine your success. Therefore, it is a great idea to try to maintain a positive attitude so you are seen as someone who finds solutions to problems and will take on new challenges.
The concept of being selfless in networking is an ability to think of others’ needs before your own. When people see you as being of value to your network by offering assistance, it will help you build win-win relationships with many, both in and eventually outside of your industry.
One thing most leaders have in common is perceived confidence. People tend to gravitate toward people with confidence. Exude this confidence in everything you do and say, and you can empower your success as people follow you.
Accept All Feedback from Your Peers
This is the time to leave your ego at the door and accept all feedback from peers, both positive and negative. Constructive criticism can be one of the best tools that can help optimize your networking if you listen to others in your industry. You can use this information to improve your business.
Work on the Pitch
When the time comes to bring up your pitch in your networking cycle, make sure it is concise. A common networking term is the “elevator pitch” which is a pitch that can be relayed in one or two sentences aka in the time it takes to make a quick elevator ride. Those few sentences will have to make a real impact so you can get people intrigued in your brand. The best pitches are the ones that are short and manage to connect with the emotional core of what your business does. You can work on your elevator pitch to perfect it. Ask colleagues to listen to you practice your pitch and provide you with feedback on how you can improve it.
Always be Consistent
Networking is also something you should be doing on a regular basis, not just when you seek new opportunities. Once you get yourself out there in the network circuit, you should not just fade away because people can forget about you if you are not consistent. Therefore, you should attend in-person networking events. You should also spend some allotted time on social media platforms like Facebook, and specifically use Linkedin to develop relationships. This is a prime example of consistent networking.
Send Strategic Email
At some point your communication with your connections will be via email. This email will, without a doubt, be another representation of you, so make sure it is a professional correspondence. You should write this email with the same etiquette that you have in your business email. Your follow-up email should contain a direct subject and use professional, positive language. Make sure you proofread the entire text before you send it out to make sure that your message is conveyed in an articulate manner.