Blog Post By: Kallista Baebler, Baer Performance Marketing Intern
A common misconception is that networking revolves around exchanging contact information and asking for favors. While proper networking can result in the exchange of information, much more is involved in the process. Networking should be about establishing and maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship.
Why Networking Matters
There’s a common saying that “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” In all honesty, who you know is, in fact, helpful. It has been shown that those who connect with many are often more successful. Benefits to networking include developing new skills, being on top of industry trends, knowing the job market, and gaining access to helpful resources. All of these factors can help with career development, assisting more than just those starting their professional careers.
Proper networking skills stem from being able to have a genuine conversation. Learning these basic conversational skills can help you improve your networking skills.
- Be an active listener: Active listening is not only respectful, but it also shows the other person you care about what is being discussed. To show you are listening, maintain eye contact and keep from fidgeting. Celeste Headlee has a TED Talk explaining how to have a better conversation. In this talk, she mentions the act of listening and how you don’t need tips on how to show you are paying attention if you are actually paying attention.
- Ask questions: Asking questions that pertain to the subject discussed will show you are paying attention. They also help you learn more about the person you are talking to or the subject matter. Furthermore, questions can help you steer the conversation in the direction you want.
- Focus on the other person: By focusing on the other person, you can shift away from the mindset of having to sell yourself. While you should add information about yourself, make sure to turn the conversation back on the other person. People generally feel better when you talk about them and their accomplishments.
Maintaining your network can be just as important as growth. After speaking with someone, be sure to follow up. Following up is a step that’s often forgotten. This can be as simple as sending a connection request on LinkedIn. Showing you care can take your networking to a whole new level.
Do you need help taking your networking to the next level? At Baer Performance Marketing, we specialize in various areas within networking and public relations, including social media, cross-marketing, and event planning. Contact us today to see how we can help you with your networking needs.