11 Tips for Becoming a Great Networker

Successful people are good networkers.  What’s so important about networking you ask?  According to Mel Richardson, close to 80% of jobs are found by networking.  Do I have your attention now?  I hope so. 

Have you ever gotten a job through networking?  If so, please leave a comment telling us how you did it.

Networking is just a fancy word for the common sense idea of getting out and meeting people – in your company, your community, your profession.  When you take the time to meet people and get to know them, you are building a network that can help you in a number of ways in your life and career.  How big is your network?  How did you build it?

Effective networking calls for highly developed communication and conversation skills.  Here are eleven tips for making the most out of your networking opportunities.  Please comment and let me know what you think of them.

  1. Build and nurture relationships with other people.  Extend yourself.  Show some initiative, introduce yourself to people you don’t know, engage them in conversation.
  2. Work hard at relating to all kinds of people.  People who are different from you might make you feel uncomfortable at first.  However, they are the people from whom you are likely to learn the most.
  3. Be honest.  When you’re honest, you don’t have to remember what lies you told to what person.  Honesty, besides being the best policy, makes your life easier.
  4. Be humble.  Braggarts generally don’t fare well over the long run.  Remember the old saying “lions don’t need to roar”.
  5. Be courteous.  It cost you nothing, and it can mean everything to the other person.  Courtesy also helps you get what you want.  Your grandmother was right.  You really do get my flies with honey than vinegar.
  6. Look at the person with whom you’re having a conversation.  People like it when you look them in the eye.  They trust you more.
  7. Use the other person’s name when you are in conversation.  Everybody likes to hear their own name.
  8. Listen well to demonstrate you understand the other person’s point of view.  Ask questions if you don’t understand.  Repeat your understanding to make sure you got it right. 
  9. Let people finish what they are saying.  When you interrupt, you run the risk of annoying the other person; but more importantly, you run the bigger risk of missing something important that he or she has to say.
  10. Keep your cool when you disagree with someone you meet at a networking event.  Any fool can get upset and angry.  It takes a real lady or gentleman to handle difficult situations calmly and with aplomb.  Be responsible for yourself.  No one can make you angry.  No matter what another person does, you can always choose to act in a civil, forthright, constructive manner.
  11. Be receptive to feedback in networking situations.  Thank the other person for his or her feedback.  Use it as you see fit.

The common sense point here is simple.   Networking is an important key to career and life success because it expands the number of your contacts.  Effective networkers have highly developed communication skills.  Work on your conversation skills if you want to become an effective networker.  Initiate conversations with the people you meet.  Show a genuine interest in them by listening to what they have to say.

As always, I’m interested in your perspective on these thoughts.  I welcome and appreciate    your comments.  Thanks for reading.

Bud

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Comments

  1. This is just what I teach my children at school, “It’s easier to catch flies with honey than with vinegar!”
    This is interesting what you’ve said about jobs coming mostly through contacts. I wonder if it’s getting more that way than before, in the United States. My impression twenty years ago was that this was the case with management jobs and above, but less the case with other jobs.
    In the Middle East, ANY job is 99 percent through contacts, even being a maid or guardian, much less a decent job! If you ask people how they got their job, they are not embarrassed at ALL to tell you, “My uncle is the director of the company, and that’s how I got my job.” Nepotism is respected and admired. When I lived in America, nepotism existed, but was hidden, and something never to admit!
    Is that changing?
    Madame Monet
    Writing, Painting, Music, and Wine
    winewriter.wordpress.com

  2. Madame Monet:
    Thanks for the comment. To answer your question, I find that networking is an important tool for finding most professional jobs. My niece who just graduated from colledge got an entry level position in the fashion industry through networking.
    Regarding nepotism — I find that some companies in the US love to hire relatives of employees. They feel that they know something about the person if he or she is related to a good employee. Others still completely avoid it — going so far as to insist that one person resign when a couple who met at work marries.
    My opinion — the word nepotism still carries a negative connotation in this society. Most companies who do not want relatives working together will say that they have a no nepotism policy. Companies that like to hire relatives will say that they are “family friendly” or will have an “employee referral policy”. Rarely is nepotism used as a positive term.
    Thanks again for your thoughtful comment.
    BB

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