Advertising
Advertising

14 Tips on How to Become A Networking Master

14 Tips on How to Become A Networking Master

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.

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 How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs 2 What to Do When You Hate Your Job and Need a Change 3 How Relationships Building Helps Achieve Career Success 4 How to Start an Online Business That Will Grow and Succeed 5 How to Change Careers Successfully When It Seems too Late

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on October 8, 2020

How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs

How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs

Learning how to succeed in business used to be a case of being really good at one skill or area and milking it for all its value. Today, we are fast becoming a “skills economy”[1], driving trends in employment and even the way we approach entrepreneurship.

To succeed in today’s business landscape, business owners and executives need to possess a mix of skills that enable them to stay ahead and adapt to change.

What do you need to do to learn how to succeed in business? Here’re 10 important skills that entrepreneurs need to become successful.

1. Digital Savviness

As the adage goes: “If you’re not online, you don’t exist.” Today’s entrepreneurs need to take to the internet to increase their presence to remain relevant in an evolving business landscape.

Being able to quickly adapt to new technology, whether by utilizing cloud applications, organizing websites using content management systems, or collaborating remotely across the internet, is fast becoming the expected norm for executives.

For businesses, discoverability on the web is becoming a quick litmus test for credibility. Potential customers and investors bank on the first page of Google to make up half their minds about making further transactions with a business. GE Capital Retail Bank found that 81% of retail shoppers conduct online research before buying[2].

How to Develop This Skill

For a start, begin by hosting your website and reserving all of your brand’s handles across social media platforms. While hiring a web developer might sound like the next step, consider first hosting your company’s site on more user and budget-friendly options like Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress.

From here, you can start on some simple search engine optimization techniques that will increase your discoverability over time. Through keyword research, organic content creation, and external back-links, your site will slowly but surely garner more traffic.

2. Financial Forecasting

Let’s face it, many business owners feel that time could be better spent on developing and running the business instead of planning for it financially. However, a financial forecast serves as a roadmap for shaping any kind of business, so make this skill a priority when learning how to succeed in business.

Forecasting and planning your financial goals will give you a clearer idea of resources required. It can also provide assurance to investors as a testament to the thorough research and planning you have done.

However, inaccurate forecasts can lead to livid investors and mismanagement of expenses. When creating a detailed financial forecast, a rule of thumb is to always start with your expenses.

Advertising

How to Develop This Skill

Generally, it’s easier to calculate and predict your expenses compared to your revenue, so noting down your expenses is a starting point to benchmark how much you might need to generate in sales to turn a profit. It’s a good habit to regularly update and evaluate how close your operations are to what you have forecasted.

Building a precise set of growth forecasting will take time, but, remember, you are an investor in your own business. You must have confidence in the validity of your business concept.

3. Video Production Skills

The rise of visual mediums and the dopamine boosts it gives to users has long been researched and proven as providing an unfair advantage to businesses that leverage it[3].

If you’re a heavy user of social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and even YouTube, you’ll know that it’s pretty hard to stop once you get started on a binge-watching session.

In fact, video marketing is seeing a non-stop rise in popularity and effectiveness when used in conjunction with social media to drive traffic and boost conversions[4]. According to research, after 2019, 80% of global Internet consumption will be video content[5].

With video marketing becoming more ubiquitous, businesses that fail to leverage the power of video are almost certain to lose out.

How to Develop This Skill

Some ways to get started using videos for your business would be:

  • Creating a series of educational videos that cover useful information for your audiences
  • Live videos interacting with your community at large (these can be shot on your smart phone)
  • Using videos on landing pages to boost your customer conversions

4. Benchmarking Personal Goals to Business Performance

As far as you get into achieving endeavors on your business bucket list, it’s important to remember that being an entrepreneur is just one facet of your identity. Don’t forget why you started in the first place, even when your focus is learning how to succeed in business.

Ambition usually stems from some lifestyle goals you’ve always wanted for yourself and the people you might be providing for today or in the future. Working 24/7 is a surefire route to burnout.

How to Develop This Skill

Money can’t be your only motivation, but look into the positives of how having more financial freedom and time can impact your life. In the short term, involving your interests in your businesses can make everyday tasks feel less like mundane errands. In the long run, your business may also bring you fruitful rewards, including personal fulfilment.

Set realistic income goals to manage expectations for your performance and your company’s revenue, especially during its earlier stages. See how projected growth can align with your personal goals and make adjustments accordingly.

Advertising

5. Leveraging Healthy Competition

Some of the best athletes who have spent their careers neck-and-neck with each other have changed the standards in their respective sports. The notion of healthy competition applies to the business world more than it may seem on the surface.

Innovation has always been a key driver in free markets, which were intended to boost economies and provide customers with more choices. Just like the biggest sporting rivals that build on each others’ game, you can use your biggest competitors to hone your strategies.

How to Develop This Skill

Turn a competitive market landscape into an advantageous one by leveraging on long-established systems your business proposes an alternative to. Learn from the mistakes of predecessors once you discover their product or service loopholes.

For example, the Dollar Shave Club’s viral video[6] became a big hit because it aimed at consumers tired of purchasing expensive but low quality shavers from retail giants. Going in second meant they could fill a gap competitors might not even have been aware of.

Solidify your place with your business’ advantage — whether you’re tapping into a new geographical region or unexplored market sector, or introducing a business model that is more viable than others.

6. Honing Pitches to Investors

Stand out in a broad mix of entrepreneurs by mastering the art and science behind a solid investor pitch. Make this a focus if you want to learn how to succeed in business. Get comfortable talking about your ideas and receiving feedback or questions from peers, partners, and advisors before setting out to make a good impression on potential customers and eventually investors.

The phrase “If you can’t convince them, confuse them,” will certainly never get your business funded, especially in front of seasoned venture capitalists who have seen thousands of startup pitches. You should be able to deliver a quick elevator pitch that summarizes your unique proposition for casual meet-ups[7] because you sometimes only have a few minutes to make a good impression.

How to Develop This Skill

Develop your investor pitch deck by highlighting your business’ strongest points, which will vary for every funding round. Create your deck with the investors’ interests in mind, balancing technical jargon and buzzwords.

You can also introduce your diverse team of experts, some proven traction, or the current state of the market to demonstrate profitability and the attractiveness of the opportunity to investors.

Ensure each slide flows into the other to develop a persuasive narrative, utilizing consistent and intelligent design principles to support your content.

7. Developing a Strong Brand Identity

In a world of saturated content and numerous emerging businesses that offer similar service lines, developing a unique brand identity will help you cut through the noise and stand out from your competition[8].

Advertising

Define your personal brand to succeed in business.

    Evaluating your brand identity is linked to identifying your target customers, your business goals, a proposed promised land your solution achieves, and identifying values that are aligned with these components. Brand identity serves as a guide to maintaining consistency and creating an image you want your business to be associated with.

    How to Develop This Skill

    Efforts to strengthen your brand identity are closely tied to giving marketing strategies a direction.  By knowing what makes your target customers tick, you will be able to elevate your business from simply being a service or product to a projected brand customers and partners would be happy to identify with.

    8. Automating to Your Advantage

    The need for efficiency is often a general problem new businesses aim to resolve. As you’re learning how to succeed in business, assure that your proposed solution is more efficient than what’s readily available in the market to inspire the need for it.

    Efficiency is often achieved nowadays through digitalization and new technologies. While your product or service may not necessarily be the most innovative out there, you can apply the same automation concept across your business’ daily operations.

    How to Develop This Skill

    Shorten turnaround times and conversion rates by investing in small tools for automation where you deem fit. While it may come out of your pocket in the early stages, evaluate the advantages and benefits of automating certain processes. At our office, we’ve tried using collaborative apps like Workplace by Facebook, Slack, Asana and a few other popular apps to reduce human error and friction.

    9. Managing Millennials

    Your team plays an integral part in whether your business will accelerate at breakneck speeds or be dragged down by dead weight. Hence, it is imperative to be selective and strategic when choosing your team.

    In leaner, small business teams, the addition of every new teammate can impact how your organization culture evolves.

    Today, learning to manage millennials has become an increasingly sought after skill as well due to the increasing proportion of them in the workforce[9]. Some brand them as strawberries that are easily bruised, and others loath their need for “meaning” and wearing T-shirts to work.

    How to Develop This Skill

    Naturally, there are many misconceptions surrounding millennials, and various businesses would do well to leverage their unique skills.

    A couple of ways to manage a millennial team include:

    Advertising

    Encourage a Flat Team Structure With Open Communication

    Maintain clear professional lines between supervisors and subordinates, but keep communication channels open to ensure no negativity festers.

    Offer Constructive Feedback

    Baby boomers are well known for their straightforward approach to delivering feedback. Millennials, on the other hand, don’t always take feedback in a form that could be construed as deep criticism.

    Being constructive with feedback ensures that you don’t coddle millennial workers but also tell them the things they need to hear.

    10. Maintaining a Network of Connectivity

    When learning how to succeed in business, instead of proposing a model that’s disruptive to an industry, build connections with other companies that serve the same target customers, as long as they provide a different service.

    By creating partnerships, both you and other businesses thrive simultaneously.

    Sole market disruption isn’t always the best strategy to take. Not everybody has the opportunity, bandwidth, or financial capacity to dominate and monopolize a marketplace. See your potential for integration into other businesses and services as a good opportunity for co-collaborative marketing efforts with shared campaigns, split costs, and a strengthened customer database for everyone to tap into.

    How to Develop This Skill

    Regardless of the stage your business is in, never stop looking for ways to expand your network. Keep in contact with mentors you can look to for valuable industry advice that can help you avoid pitfalls and costly mistakes. Strengthen brand awareness by attending cross-industry events and casual meet-ups to open your business to reinvention and innovation.

    As the African proverb goes:

    “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

    Collaborating will get you where you want to go quicker and gear you up for further growth.

    More on How to Succeed in Business

    Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next