Business Networking: Three Ideas To Find Opportunities To Connect
Business networking is vital for all professionals, both employees and employers. Forming relationships in your professional world will help you in several ways including establishing your brand.
To build lasting networks, you should think of business networking as a symbiotic relationship. Don’t think of what you have to gain alone. You must be willing to be helpful to your network as well.
Peter Tourian in the article he wrote for Forbes, stated the many benefits of business networking even if you are established professional or business owner.
I was at a business event recently where I met several people. As my mentor once advised me, I try to connect with at least one person at any event. I was able to get my first TV interview as a result of the connection I made that day!
You hear so much about networking, but you don’t know where to start from, then this article is for you. I will recommend three avenues to find opportunities for business networking.
Business Networking Avenues
1. Your Contacts:
Go through your phone contacts and identify those who you can reconnect. Even if you think they can’t help you, still reach out to them and rekindle your connection. Business networking isn’t only about who can help you but also who you can help.
Think about former colleagues who have moved on to other opportunities. Send a quick text to them, and find out how they are doing. Include a brief update about yourself as well, so they know how you are doing.
Don’t forget about those business cards you collect from events too. It’s my practice to send out emails to people I meet at business events. I try to focus on one or two people I want to know better, and I follow up with emails post the event day.
It is good practice to reach out periodically to others because it is easier to ask for something when you already have an ongoing relationship.
2. Look Online:
Most people are on social media these days, and there is ample opportunity for business networking on a lot of the social media platforms.
There are many professional groups available on these platforms. I have joined a few on LinkedIn and on Facebook. I also participate as much as I can in these communities. I offer suggestions and recommendations. I answer questions and congratulate others when appropriate.
Look for a couple of groups that is relevant to what you do and engage with the group. You will notice that people in these groups would offer suggestions, share opportunities and offer encouragement when you need it as well.Endeavor to remain professional at all times. You may not always agree with everything said or done in the groups, but you must maintain your professionalism. The focus is to build business networks so remain focused.
3. Join Associations In Your Physical Location:
There are many local associations you can join that will expand your network. Consider your local chamber of commerce when searching for associations to join. You will find professionals that you can connect with that will be helpful to you in ways that you may not imagine. For example, I got a spot as a guest on a TV show through a member. That I didn’t expect!
There a few important things to note with business networking, the first is having a personal brand and the second is engaging with others. People need to know what you do to rip the benefits of business networking. It will be useless to attend business networking events or to join professional groups and remain reticent about who you are or what you do.
Don’t collect business cards and keep them in your wallet. The purpose of the card is to connect so when you get one, ask for the best way to follow up with them. Limit the number of business cards you ask for and add some detail to the card so you can remember more about your contacts when you follow up with them.
Remember to demonstrate confidence so that you stand out. You want to be seen as competent and capable so that there is no doubt about your abilities. You’ve got at most thirty seconds to create an impression so make it count.You need to do the work to achieve success, and that includes building your network. So set a goal for business networking, make sure you make it realistic and measurable. Create a S.M.A.R.T. goal for your business networking, and you will achieve it.