You’ve heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
Networking is essential to get your business or professional career moving.
The contacts that you make can help you grow your business or find a new job.
The only problem is that most people aren’t great at networking.
In today’s article, we’ll show you eight networking hacks that can help you get started on the right path toward building a successful career.
So, let’s begin!
Why Is Networking Important?
Networking is a fundamental part of any business, and it’s something that you should be doing on a daily basis.
The most important thing to remember about networking is that it’s not just about meeting new people but also building and maintaining relationships with those people.
Networking provides many benefits for both individuals as well as businesses.
Some of these are:
- Meeting new people in your industry who can become friends or mentors.
- If you’re starting out in an industry, your network will help you find jobs when they become available.
- Getting into contact with decision makers in companies that you want to work at so they’ll see that you’re serious about getting a job there.
- Your network will keep you informed about what’s going on in their company and allows them to keep up-to-date with what’s happening in yours
- It can help you connect with other industries, opening up new collaboration opportunities.
Now that we’ve covered the importance of networking let’s get through some effective networking hacks that can help you skyrocket your career.
1. Set Your Objectives
It’s easy to get caught up in the networking buzz and forget why you’re doing it.
Don’t let that happen!
Before you even think about networking, it’s important to make sure your objectives are clear.
- What do you want to achieve?
- What does success in networking look like for you?
Knowing what you want makes it easier to network with the right people.
If you are looking for a new opportunity, having a clear goal will help you better identify the right contacts and determine whether they will be able to help you meet your objective.
Having an objective helps you remember why you are networking in the first place and prevents distractions from getting in the way of achieving your goal!
2. Go to Places Where Your Network Hangs Out
Meetings or events held by professional organizations are great places to network because everyone is there for the same reason — they want to learn about their industry and meet other people who share their passion for it.
Plus, these meetings often involve speakers from within each profession who can share information about their particular careers or companies (and hopefully speak about how those careers fit into the bigger picture).
If there’s a conference happening in your industry, you should consider going to it!
You’ll be surrounded by people who care about what you care about, which makes it easier to start conversations with them.
Consider using digital business card apps to help you capture new contacts from events you attend. You can later manage their detail in one place and import them to your CRM system.
If there’s no event coming up that fits your schedule, consider joining an online community such as Slack channels, Facebook, or LinkedIn groups, where your industry hangs out online.
3. Be Approachable
If you want to network effectively, it’s important to be approachable.
People will feel intimidated to approach you if you’re hiding behind your laptop or buried under a pile of papers. It’s also difficult for them to get a sense of who you are as a person.
Here are some ways to make yourself more approachable:
- Stand up when someone comes over to talk to you – Even if they only have one question, stand up and give them your full attention. It shows that you value their time and will give them a better impression of you.
- Make eye contact when talking to someone — don’t let your eyes wander around the room or look at the floor. This shows that you’re engaged in what they’re saying and interested in what they have to say back.
And in the end, smile!
People like talking with people who seem happy and friendly — it makes them feel good about themselves too!
4. Listen Carefully and Ask Questions
Listening carefully is probably the most important networking hack because it’s going to make you a better networker.
Also, asking questions goes hand-in-hand with listening because if you’re not listening, how will you know what question to ask?!
Asking questions not only makes you stand out from everyone else but also allows others to brag about themselves as well as answer any questions that may arise during the conversation
Note: When asking questions, use open-ended questions to avoid being boring and forcing people to answer yes or no.
5. Use Social Media To Connect
You need to remember that networking isn’t about getting a job or making sales.
It’s about building relationships with other people who can help you achieve your goals.
If you want to get ahead in business, you need to be able to connect with others.
But how do you do it without wasting hours trying?
One of the most effective ways is using social media platforms such as LinkedIn or Facebook and their groups to connect with people outside of physical events.
The more you interact online with people who share your interests, the more opportunities there will be for real-life interactions later on down the line!
Note: When connecting with other professionals on social media, such as LinkedIn, make sure always to be yourself – don’t draft a copy of someone else’s networking script.
The goal is not to pitch but to connect and build relationships at first.
To help you send natural-sounding messages, you can use our proven LinkedIn messages as an inspiration.
6. Organize Your Contacts
Take some time to organize your contacts into groups based on industry or job title so that when networking events come up, you can focus on a particular group rather than getting overwhelmed by all the possibilities.
The more organized your data is, the easier it’ll be to track down someone when making connections or following up on opportunities.
But how to organize your data?
When you meet someone new at an event or conference, make a note about who they are and what their business does.
This will help you remember them when you see them again and also give you something to talk about when you reconnect in the future.
Pro tip: For better organizing your LinkedIn contacts, you can use LeadDelta.
You can simply sort each contact into a relevant category by applying the tag that will help you find them easier in the future.
For example, if you want to tag all the founders you met, just select them within the LeadDelta connections tab and then hit “Apply Tag.”
Add your tag name, and after you’re done, click “Apply Tag.”
Based on this tag, you’ll be able to easily filter them whenever you need it.
On the other hand, for each persona you connect and have a conversation with, you can place anything you find interesting about them within the personalized notes.
Just find the person within the “Connections tab”, and click on the note icon.
Write a note and then hit “Save changes.”
7. Give Before Asking
The more you give, the more people will want to help you.
So make sure to offer something of value before asking for something in return.
It could be advice, mentorship, or even just a cup of coffee — whatever it is, make sure it’s something that will make your contact feel good about helping you out.
Then ask for what you need from them.
If you always ask for something first, people will get suspicious and not help.
If you can give something first, it makes it easier for others to help you later.
8. Follow Up Promptly
After meeting someone at the event, or a meeting, don’t wait until tomorrow to follow them up.
Send an email the same day as your meeting or conference call with someone new so it shows up in their inbox first thing in the morning.
This way, they know they were important enough for you to follow up immediately.
If they remember anything else during their busy day, they’ll be able to reach out easily using your contact information.
Here are some tips on how to follow up with your network:
- Use LinkedIn InMail – Use LinkedIn InMail messages to contact someone without being too pushy.
- Send a personal email – Send a friendly email that doesn’t seem like a sales pitch or cold call (you don’t want them thinking that they’re being picked apart).
- Ask for feedback – Ask your new contact how they think you can help each other out in the future. How can they help promote your company or services? What advice can they give you?
We hope these effective networking hacks have been helpful for you and that they will be an excellent investment of your time and energy.
Engaging with your LinkedIn audience is no longer a problem with the right LinkedIn tools, so choosing the one that best fits your needs is essential.
With a LeadDelta social capital manager, you’ll be more productive by viewing and organizing your network the way it suits your needs best.
It’s time to stop with overloaded inboxes, feeds, and screaming notifications but rather focus on building relationships.
Download LeadDelta extension and improve your LinkedIn connections game.