Networking is the creation and development of a network of useful acquaintances. This is an investment in the future: you simply make acquaintances that will be useful in a career or business. The more people you know, the more opportunities you have.
For example, at a design conference, you met the manager of a major brand. We discussed the speeches of the speakers, the industry, and common problems, and exchanged contacts. A few weeks later, this manager invites you to work on a new company project because he liked your approach to problems and clients.
But for networking to be useful, you need to offer your new acquaintances something in return, because you, too, may be asked for a favor.
Where To Practice Networking?
Some people manage to acquire useful acquaintances naturally: such people are sociable from birth and know how to win over others. But in the modern world, networking is a tool available even to introverts.
Experts believe that truly strong bonds are formed not in small talk, but in situations where you and other people are involved in something important. Therefore, the most effective networking is the one that involves working together. But do not neglect simple communication.
Places And Activities That Promote Good Networking
Here are some activities that promote networking:
Industry Exhibitions, Forums, And Conferences
These are places where people exchange experiences, share best practices and talk about their achievements. Here you will immediately find out who can be useful to you, and who will be interested in you yourself. Some of the most famous conferences for networking include CMO conferences, TED conferences, etc.
Educational Programs And Professional Competitions
Many practice-oriented events are built around teamwork: for example, case championships and hackathons. Courses, training, intensives, and marathons, even online, often include blocks in which students solve problems together. Here you can meet interesting people, show your skills in business and see what others are capable of.
It is a good base for finding business acquaintances. In such places, people are immersed in work, and you can offer help, ask a question or share an opinion. A one-time fruitful interaction will easily grow into further cooperation.
In the US, everyone has been looking for professional acquaintances on LinkedIn for a long time, but other platforms are also suitable for this. On Facebook, you can directly write to the right people, and with the help of a channel on Telegram or YouTube, it is easy to get others interested in contacting you.
Any Communities and Clubs
These include clubs for sports, scientific, and professional meetups. Participants unite in such groups according to certain interests or characteristics, but this does not mean that they cannot find other points of contact.
What Networking Mistakes Should You Avoid?
Here are some networking mistakes that you should avoid:
- Don’t try to sell your ideas right off the bat and don’t be overly intrusive. It scares people away and spoils the impression. Better ask and listen more.
- Don’t ask for help at first. First, you need to establish a strong trusting relationship.
- Don’t try to be better than you are. Lies will be revealed sooner or later, and the reputation will remain tarnished forever.
- Do not enter into personal financial relationships with new acquaintances – do not lend money, do not borrow money, and do not become a guarantor.
- Don’t be reminded of verbal agreements twice. Ask what was agreed in the conversation, just once. If a person has not fulfilled a promise, forgive him.
Do not participate in gossip and intrigue, and do not spread false and defamatory information. This will make things worse. So, have a sense of collectiveness and make sure you grow together by working together.