Networking is one of the most important activities associated with success in many types of businesses. Yet, there are many pitfalls and personal barriers to effective business networking. We’ve compiled some great articles to help you navigate.
Before you put any effort into networking more effectively, be sure you're in the right room and in front of the right people.
In an article for ExecuNet, Judy Robinett presents a four-step process that will help you understand and tap into the concept of ecosystems in order to connect with the specific people you need to meet.
See: Are You in the Right Room? An Important Key to Networking Success.
Think you’re too introverted to succeed with networking? Find yourself tongue-tied in the first few seconds in front of a new person? You can rise above these obstacles with a few well-chosen tactics.
Introverts often find themselves feeling “socially awkward” in networking situations. However, introverts can use their natural skill for empathetic listening to help other people feel more connected. You can also ask for an introduction to someone you want to meet instead of mustering up the courage to approach that person yourself.
See: 7 Networking Tips for Introverts, Extroverts, and the Socially Awkward.
Another way to overcome your nervousness at meeting new people is to challenge yourself to think of creative conversation starters before you arrive. Also, try to resist the temptation to check your phone when you’re feeling awkward at a networking event – that just distances you even more.
See: 3 Easy Ways to Be Way Better at Small Talk.
In an article for American Express OPEN Forum, Denise O'Berry offers her six ways to shine at a face-to-face networking event.
She covers how to prepare before hand by setting goals, how to make conversation flow by getting the other person to do the talking, and how to follow up memorably by keeping your word and checking in.
See: 6 Ways to Shine at a Face-to-Face Networking Event.
The Stanford Graduate School of Business blog summarizes a book about how to “build relationships and an efficient and effective social network,” using the book’s co-author Ross Walker as a case study.
One of the 10 varied tips they share is to carefully consider your approach, such as the email subject line. This can be the difference between someone responding to a request, or deleting the message without even reading.
They also recommend finding a mutual connection so you can tap into that shared interest or acquaintance before reaching out to introduce yourself.
See: Ten Tips for Building Stronger Networks in Work and Life.
Over time you may lose touch with people in your network. Wharton business profession Adam Grant says these “dormant” connections can introduce you to a diverse new network – people and ideas that can only be found outside of your regular circles. The best part is that it’s way easier to reconnect than to start a new connection from scratch.
See: The Most Powerful People in Your Network Who You're Not Tapping.