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How to Master the Art of Networking

The Art of Networking starts in smaller events where you get to meet individuals. Someone will always want to learn more about you.

Networking by Antenna/Unsplash

Networking is essential for forging professional and long-lasting business relationships. But becoming a networking master is no easy task. Nevertheless, every networking master will tell you that in-person communication is the key to successfully adding professionals to your digital Rolodex.

However, networking comes in many forms, and online networking is gaining a lot of popularity nowadays. Therefore, we can ignore the medium and focus on mastering the art of networking by working on certain aspects of our game.

This guide will explain the necessary aspects of networking and how to become a networking wizz. So with all that said, let’s start.

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Be Genuine

Attending events is a great way to hone your communication skills and be better at forging long-lasting relationships. But what good is doing that if you’re going to lie about yourself?

If you truly want these people to become part of your network, you must be genuine and sincere. Otherwise, you’re risking losing their trust.

So next time you attend any sort of networking event, be genuine and present yourself in the most honest way possible. That way, your new contacts will see you for who you are and be more open to the idea of collaborating in the future.

Always Take Notes

Taking notes is always important, no matter the occasion. But they’re especially important when attending networking events with hundreds of people. Ideally, you want to talk to as many people as possible when attending one of these events.

But how would you possibly keep up with all that information? Although inconvenient, notes can be your saving grace. After chatting up a potential business contact, take the time to write down crucial information. You can take a basic notepad or write stuff down on your smartphone.

The only time where you won’t have any trouble taking down notes is when attending online networking events. These events are perfect for summarizing conversations in a few short sentences. While chatting with a contact, write down the most important information on the side to stay up-to-date.

Don’t Forget to Meet Up

A mistake to avoid when networking is thinking you’ve got the job done there and then. Don’t think you’re done even if someone has given you their email address and phone number.

Another key to mastering the art of networking is to maintain your digital Rolodex. This means you should regularly get in touch with your network and even get together for a coffee. Think of your network as an online business. You still need to maintain it even if you’re not physically there.

Don’t Be Spammy

Anyone attending a networking event will tell you about the good and the bad. While plenty of good things emerge from these events, there is always that one person who spams their business cards. These are the most annoying people to come across. And don’t worry; they will eventually get to you even if you try to avoid them throughout the event.

So if you take issue with card spammers, should you really be doing the same? Giving out your card is a great way to make yourself visible, but no one will pay attention to you. Despite thinking it’s a positive move, there is nothing positive with being a spammer.

People will simply ignore you and throw your card in the trash. So if you really want to master the art of networking, you must avoid becoming that one person everyone avoids.

Engage Regularly in Conversations and Discussions

Many networking events have hosts and panels. Moreover, most networking events revolve around a particular subject. Therefore, to master the art of networking, you must get into the conversation as much as possible.

But how do you do that? The host or panel of speakers will probably host a Q&A session or look to engage with the attendees. Considering the importance of visibility when networking, this is your moment to shine. Regularly get in on the action and ask a question or two. What this does is helps you build rapport and, most importantly, trust.

After the event ends, you will find it much easier to talk to people since they’ve all seen and heard you speak.

Ask A Powerful Question

Everyone attending networking events thinks alike. They’re all there to look for exciting business contacts that can add mutual value. Based on that logic, it’s safe to assume that everyone is actively scouting the room and discards unwanted contacts.

So the goal is to stand out and become a wanted person. And what’s the best way to do that? – By asking a powerful question. There’s no better way to become the center of attention than to ask a powerful question with real meaning. Not only that, but a powerful question is a conversation starter.

Then, people will see the value in having you as a business contact, and you’ll start easily collecting phone numbers and emails.

Don’t Rush It – Work on Your Craft

Signing up for the biggest events out there might be tempting, but remember that networking is a process. You’ll most likely network for the duration of your professional career. So don’t worry, there will be plenty of other big events.

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Right now, you need to focus on mastering the art. So instead of big flashy events, focus on smaller events where you can really get to know people. Don’t think for a second that you won’t find interesting people attending smaller events. No matter the event, someone will always love to know more about you.

Remember to start small and work your way up the food chain. Sooner or later, you will find yourself attending the most glamorous networking events.

Conclusion

What does it mean to be good at networking? Does it mean having as many contacts in your digital Rolodex or being a person that provides value to their network?

Both answers are accurate. But to get to where you want, you need to master the art of networking first. We hope these tips will help broaden your thinking and help you achieve your goals.

Author Bio

Erik Bergman co-founded Catena Media and helped grow it to over 300 employees and a $200 million valuation before stepping away to start Great.com, an iGaming organization that donates 100% of its profits to environmental charities.

In addition to running a successful online affiliate business, Erik also hosts the Becoming Great podcast, shares entrepreneurship tips with his more than 1 million social media followers, and contributes to sites like Entrepreneuer.com, Business Insider, Foundr, and Forbes. 

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