Man is a social animal. This being the primary reason for the existance of a civilized society, we conciously network with people on a day-to-day basis. Networking has been of prime importance since the era of colonisation, and with industrialisation to the men in marketing field, and off late, every other person is feeling the need of networking and keeping their network strong and healthy as it has become the key to success. Success here defines a business deal, publicizing your product or a new job that you have landed through your networking.
1. Alma Mater
Your best contacts are your classmates from school and college. These are people you grew up with, and know off really well even at a personal level, hence, can expect little favours from them. Especially, the ones from college, because quite obviously you share the same profession. So make sure you hold on to these people real tight. Attend all the alumini functions, catch up a few times in a year for dinner or coffee. Also keep a good watch on their new updates on Linkedin, rope them in when you need to bank on their networks.
2. Friend in need, is a friend indeed !
You need to make friends, and not just friends but good friends at your workplace. With the latest trend of jumping jobs, these friends will be the most useful networks in your professional life. Over a period of 5 years, you need to have built a strong network through your friends in your old workplace, and the ones who have jumped jobs, and probably, friends of friend who you would have met over for a drink, or a karaoke party, may be !
3. Don’t lose out on information
Once you have done your bit of the talking, delivering and proving yourself, and earned yourself the little business card or many cards for the night, don’t lose out on them. Pick the ones with more leverage to you and use your phone to feed all the contact information you need from that card. Now, set your phone on automatic sync to cloud, and bam, you can never lose out on this contact again!
Well, attending all the social and official events might be crucial to getting to know of your contacts. But what is important is they know of you too. To grab their attention, you need to have the gift of gab with the right amount of charm added to it, irrespective of your job skills. These are the qualities required off a good-businessman-in-the-making. Learn the sly tactics of slipping in your point and purpose of the conversation in the middle of the ‘talk’. Use this to sell your ideas to them, and get their business cards.
5. Smile and nod
With all the attempts of socialising for networking comes the pain of listening to boring talks too. The trick that never fails is that of- Smiling and nodding- my friend!
You don’t know what the other person is talking about, or are really uncomfortable with the suggestions, or don’t approve of it ? Just smile and nod. You don’t want to upset these people as they are potential clients or employers or businessmen with respect to your profession.
6. Conferences and Seminars
Clear your schedule for all the conferences and seminars, here you are hopefull of seeing and meeting people who are of importance to your profession. Sit with a year planner and chalk out your schedule around these conferences, seminars, social events, etc. Target the crowd and the people invited for such events and similarly prepare yourself to deliver your potential to the people present there. Once at the conference, just socialise !
Read up on the rising companies with respect to your professions and the respective professional circles that you aspire to be a part of. Research plays a key role with respect to learning anything in life, and same with networking. You should be well informed and aware of the recent changes and additions in your profession, and the general happenings of the society.
8. Play to your weaknesses
Networking is a skill by itself, and comes naturally to a few god-gifted beings. The rest of us have to work hard on our memory, behaviour and ethics to build and maintain our network. For those who are forgetful with names, there are apps nowadays to solve your weak memory issues. You can just sync in the contacts and profile information to keep you up to date the next time you see this familiar face, and fumble around to get the right name.
9. Linkedin profile
Linkedin is basically a fancy means of projecting your CV for the world to see and know about your potential. It holds your achievements and accomplishments in life. Build your contacts carefully over Linkedin and target the good and beneficial contacts for your business, and add them to your profile. Make sure you update your Linkedin profile frequently, and check your account regularly to make sure you don’t keep an invitation from a potential contact waiting.
10. Social Media
Social media is working well for business advertising and publicizing. We are referring to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter when referring to social media here. These sites give you a platform to exhibit your potential in terms of reaching out to a lay man, and building your reputation. Opening a Facebook page with your product information and promoting it, tweeting about the latest developments in your industry/business/product , or updating pictures on Instagram will gain you the popularity you need. This indeed will make you known among the respective professional circle sooner, or later, and earn you the respect needed to survive. Also, don’t forget to check out the potential employers and business contacts who might discover you in the process. So post wisely!