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If the thought of networking outside of your company fills you with dread, then you are not alone.
It can be intimidating walking into a room where you don’t know anyone and need to attempt to break the ice. But it is one of those things that you need to take in your stride and perfect with practice as networking is highly effective for long-term success.
Here are 5 ways you can Step IN to increase your networking confidence and outcomes.
Understand your goals
Before you begin networking, it is essential that you understand your networking goals. What is it you want to achieve?
Once you know what you are trying to get out of networking, then you will have more specific goals as to what kind of people you are looking to attract. Attempting to take the business card of everyone and befriending all the inhabitants of a room is nice, but it isn’t really helping you grow your skills, find a mentor, or whatever your overall goal may be. Prioritise your contacts, and over time you will learn to manage your networks efficiently.
Utilise online tools
It can be challenging to know where to start when it comes to selecting networking events. Thankfully, there are so many more opportunities to meet business people than ever before. Search for local business groups, conventions and professional societies in your surrounding area.
Use websites such as Meetup to see what is happening locally that may appeal. You never know who you will meet or where these new contacts will lead you.
Nothing to lose and everything to gain
It may take time and energy to source meaningful networking opportunities, but the reward you earn from meeting new people and developing your knowledge is certainly worth the effort. Of course, you may not make a powerful connection at every networking event you attend. But you will definitely have more chances to do so by making an effort to leave the confines of your comfortable and secure couch. Just by attending an event, you can meet new people and create more relationships that may be of interest and benefit to you.
Create mutually beneficial relationships
Consider what kind of person you are looking to meet. What kind of characteristics would be helpful to further your career prospects or grow your business?
Ideally, you want any connection to form a mutually beneficial and long-term professional relationship, so chat with people and assess their interests. Hone in on those with the necessary traits and skillsets that would come in handy.
By taking the time and not rushing in to form a partnership, you are allowing yourself to create a more stable and reliable working relationship. You can learn so much from other entrepreneurs, and there is no better time to start than today.
Learn to sell yourself
Selling yourself is a necessary skill to attain. It may involve writing some kind of elevator pitch, memorising it and then practising it in front of a mirror. People are always more interested in doing business with people that they know, so get out there and make it happen.
Through the development of sound networking principles, you will be able to position yourself as an expert in your field. The more word gets out about you and your business, the more exposure you will gain, and the more your reputation will grow. Become a valuable resource to others in the community and achieve satisfaction from being part of something larger than yourself.
Through our Networking (Outside the company) ecourse, you will learn to develop a strong core set of networking skills to hold you in good stead. Through the course, you will find that you have the strategies you need to build your confidence, and you will have a newfound understanding and appreciation of the benefits that networking can bring to your life, both on a professional and personal basis.