Contacts, connections, networking, and power moves all transmit similar intent to advance personally and professionally. Last week, CPR spent time on Networking and the traits of an effective Networker. Today's post provides some networking tips. Suffice it to say note that networking is not new; it has proven to be critical going back to the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution revolutionized businesses and society at large. The fast transition and colossal upsurge of businesses imposed the need for better connections and collaboration. Consequently, trust, integrity, and networking played a significant role.
This week on Jumpstart with CPR (online radio program), Generation Next, Howard University alumnus offered networking tidbits on establishing mutually beneficial win-win. Networking is about building lasting relationships, not just a quick way to close deals. The networking focus should be the long-term. Building and maintaining a genuine connection requires a strategic approach and a specific skill set. When done right, it comes with access to new opportunities and collaborations for those who want to move up the career ladder, whether for a higher salary or a promotion. It’s also a helpful medium for businesses looking for new clients and hiring teams searching for the right culture fit.
To network effectively requires putting in the effort and time, exchanging value, and offering authenticity and character, not only skills and titles. Explore some of the best and most valuable practices to understand this better. Let's consider the term purpose-driven networking, which is a critical networking strategy. In an age where authenticity and purpose are highly valued, successful networking will require a focus on building genuine and mutually beneficial relationships, according to the CEO of Champion Leadership Group.
Beyond the fundamentals and the big “dos and don’ts,” some of the best practices in networking lie in making small gestures, restoring dormant ties, or asking the right questions. In today's market, a warm smile, confidence, and firm handshake still hold.
Networking begins before attending an event or pursuing an opportunity. Preparation is critical at every turn. Coined the preparatory phase, it is essential to:
Set up learning goals.
Take time to do some research.
Find specific people you want to connect or reconnect with (make sure to practice quality over quantity)
Craft an elevator pitch and a strategy for self-presentation.
Prepare questions and small talk alternatives.
Ensure a means for exchanging contacts.
An active engagement process follows a well-executed preparation phase.
This happens during a networking opportunity, for example, a conference or a local event.
Some of the best practices in networking during this stage are:
Expressing confidence and presenting well (e.g., through body language, engaging in conversation, or following the dress code)
Non-verbal cues like active listening and paying attention
Asking open-ended questions and taking notes
Offering help, creative advice, or other form of mutual value
Exchanging contact information
Staying authentic and sincere
Networking doesn’t end after exchanging contact with the desired prospects. Instead, it continues well after the engagement phase into relationship building and maintenance. Networking is an effective tool required to expand any business landscape.