As a leader, it is critical to surround yourself with contacts that can help grow your personal and professional brand. Here’s how to get the most out of your networking efforts
Networking is a great marketing tool for promoting your personal and professional brand. Forming connections and relationships with others who can give you feedback, support and introductions is vital for leaders and, when it is done right, networking can be the first step towards meeting potential clients and influential people who can provide new opportunities and help grow your business. It’s the single most cost-effective way of increasing your profile and reputation, and you should make a commitment to network regularly in order to take advantage of this.
Lift your networking game with these 5 easy hacks:
Listen more than you speak
When networking, it is easy to assume you are there to talk to other people about your business and what you have to offer. What many don’t realise is that it’s also about listening – finding out about others and seeing how they can help. When there is two-way communication, networking can result in beneficial long-term collaborations.
Networkers whose personal brand is very clear and whose actions and words reflect that brand tend to be more effective in creating connections and establishing long-lasting relationships.
Choose your networking moments
It is important to form and establish relationships with many different people, from potential clients to other industry leaders and business groups. Finding the right people is the first step to establishing yourself as part of their network, and opens the door for you to connect with their contacts.
Networking doesn’t stop at the end of the event or function – meeting people is only the first step. The success of your efforts depends on what you do after establishing your relationship with your new contacts. Connect with them via LinkedIn, social media, email or phone, and put some effort into maintaining new connections.
Be a connector
While you hope you’ve left a clear enough impression of what you do that others will remember you, great networkers always refer their contacts for new opportunities, too. Remember, it’s not all about you, and giving referrals will pay dividends down the track.