Networking is not a new strategy. Professionals from various fields have been using this strategy to build contacts and ultimately expand their client base and business.
What is Networking?
Development and maintenance of personal connections and contacts with a wide variety of people who are likely to be helpful in your career development is known as networking. Networking offers a number of benefits including:
• Information about the latest trends in the industry
• Fresh ideas
• Strengthened relationships
• Access to opportunities
• Support and advice
• Raised profile
A number of settings offer the opportunity to meet new people and develop new contacts. Seminars, trade shows, conferences, user group meetings, luncheons and dinners are ideal for networking. At such gatherings, all you need to do is walk around and try to socialize with as many people as possible. Small things like a firm hand shake, comfortable eye contact while talking to someone, and courteous and friendly attitude can help you make the right impression. When you are about to end a conversation, offer the person your business card and request for his.
Turing into a social butterfly can be difficult, especially for someone who is introvert by nature, but it is essential. Important aspects of the art of networking include
• Making proactive efforts to meet people
• Updating or collecting contact information like email addresses and telephone numbers
• Keeping in touch with your contacts
• Thanking people for their help
• Offering help when requested
A Long Term Strategy
Many professionals manage to form business contacts at social gatherings, but fail to maintain them. The whole exercise is futile, if you do not maintain contacts. Networking is a long term strategy. All business activities are based on relationships and it takes time to form them.
Photo Courtesy: dealersynergy on Flickr