Advertising

14 Tips on How to Become A Networking Master

14 Tips on How to Become A Networking Master
Advertising

According to Dr. Brian G. Gilmartin author of “Love and Shyness: Causes, consequences and treatment”, about 70 percent of the best job and career opportunities are obtained under the table through informal social networks.

Moreover,  recent studies have shown that compared to jobs obtained the regular ways, jobs obtained through informal social networks pay significantly better, provide far better growth opportunities, are about three times more likely to provide high levels of career satisfaction, and aree about five times more likely to be retained by the incumbent for ten or more years.

To sum it up: It`s not what you know, it`s who you know.

Yes networking can be a difficult and very awkward process but if left undone you will be risking to lose 70 percent of your growth opportunities for those who may not be as good as you but they know how to reach out and ask for a ”Push”.

In this article, I will show you 14 rules, if followed you will be able to master the art of networking.

1. Stop focusing on what you want

Smart networking is mostly based on mutual benefits. I help and you help me back, and since you`re the one who wants to connect then you’re the one who must start this win-win relationship by adding value to the other person`s life.

In her book “The Connectors: How the world`s most successful business people build relationships and win clients for life” famous marketing consultant Maribeth Kuzmesky says:

Advertising

“Concentrating on others’ needs can be extremely beneficial; you can assume that almost everyone else’s focus is ‘‘What’s in it for me’’ and not vice-versa. Therefore, adopting a ”What’s in it for them’’ mentality will actually allow you to stand out in a crowd.”

In other words; focusing on others will always bring you more which can take us to the second rule of smart networking.

2. Listen Curiously

Maribeth Kuzmesky continues:

“Connecting is not about being a great talker, in order to connect effectively you must be an active listener which is very different from hearing.”

This is difficult because very often the listener is so busy thinking about responding to what the speaker is saying that he misses much of what the speaker is trying to convey.

3. Know what to do if they don`t talk much

It’s hard to listen if the other member of your exchange isn’t doing much talking. To really connect with someone, you need to ask good questions that show you are interested, help you learn, and will allow you to use your listening skills.

4. Know how to network by email

If you network by email, all you need is to do your homework and research your target. The best way to do that is by reading what they post or say on social media or even taking a look at their blog posts. This will help you know what they love, what they need and what they complain about.

Advertising

What you have to do is to keep tracking them until you find what I call “an effective point of entry” that will let you grab that person’s attention or at least reduces the chances of them neglecting your email.

5. Stay short and quick

You have less than 10 seconds (or a single paragraph if you`re emailing) to grab someone’s attention. The best tool to overcome this is a short targeted pitch that tells people who you are, what you do and what you can offer.

Busy people don`t like wasting their time, make sure you get their attention before they feel their time getting wasted.

6. Network with everyone

You shouldn’t connect with people only inside your area of expertise. Grow your network and connect with people outside your industry. You don`t know what the future holds for you, you might need them someday.

7. Until you get under their radar, don`t ask for anything

Influencers and important people face lots of mediocre or pushy networking attempts every single day and they suspect new approaches and new emails almost all the time, and sometimes even after adding value to their lives you still won`t get a clear chance to ask them to repay your favor.

That`s why you must have enough patience to wait until it’s the right time to ask for what you want. And when will this “right time” come? I don`t know. You know them better than me.

8. Introduce people to each other

The best way to owe someone a favor is by simply introducing him or her to someone who can benefit them.

Advertising

Assuming that you know both persons well, a simple email asking both of them if they like to be introduced to each other (while stating what`s in it for them) will set you as a “know’em all” person and of course; both of them will pay you later if things work well.

9. All people are not the right people

Quality matters when networking with people. If you`re going to approach someone then make sure that you are approaching someone who can help (knowing that you will offer help first). Other than that, you are simply wasting your time.

10. If it`s your first time or if you`re afraid, then do it the clumsy way

Networking is simply reaching out to those you have no relationship with, which is scary for a lot of people.

If it frightens you, then doing it the clumsy way is better than not doing it at all (while working on upgrading your skills).

If you feel overwhelmed because you`re not that qualified or because your pitch is not extra professional then jump into the water right away and click send or push the call button. Just like what Michael Jordan has said:

“I can accept failure but I can`t accept not trying.”

11. Don`t be an Ass licker

Most people perceive too much complementing as fake or cheap especially when it comes from someone they barely know or not know at all.

Advertising

Even if you really admire that person, don’t over show it and make sure that they respect you as much as you want them to like you. An easy catch is always boring, avoid being in such position.

12. Accept that you will get rejected, many times.

Don`t take it personal, sometimes people are busy or they just don`t like you (you too get busy or don`t like someone for no reason). Accept that and get over it quickly. It’s a part of the game.

13. Find a mentor

“You need mentors in your life to take you to the places you want to go!!! Why do you need mentors? Well, it’s simple. Mentors cause you to change, or stretch yourself to new limits not known before. They also give you a larger vision for your life than you can see for yourself.” – Tom Pace

Build a list of 3-7 people whom you’d like to be your mentor and reach out to them. Follow them, learn from them and even work for them for free.

A mentor can teach you what books can’t plus once a mentor trusts you, his or her network becomes your network.

You offer them help plus prestige or ego satisfaction and they offer you experience and connections. That`s a strong relationship from which both of you can win.

14. Never be too busy for networking

Networking is business, and if done right it will save you time and make you money more than anything else on your busy schedule.

Advertising

Leave some space on your schedule for networking. Something as simple as reaching out to one person a day can do miracles to your business. It doesn`t matter to start small, as long as you are consistent enough.

Featured photo credit: Justin Brown via flickr.com

More by this author

30 Signs You’re a Procrastinator 14 Things People Who Feel Comfortable With Themselves Do Differently 14 Tips on How to Become A Networking Master 10 Things Highly Productive People Don’t Do 22 Videos That Will Inspire Greatness In Your Life

Trending in Work

1 7 Effective Ways To Motivate Employees in 2021 2 How To Stay Motivated As You Build Your Business 3 15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow 4 23 Tips for New Entrepreneurs to Get Your Business Underway 5 20 All-Time Best Entrepreneur Books to Make Your Business Successful

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
Advertising

During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

Advertising

Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

Advertising

6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

Advertising

Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

Advertising

13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next