1. Choose the networking activities you love
Those networking activities (or relationship building activities), that you really enjoy. The ones that come naturally to you and have always come naturally to you.
2. Avoid networking acitivities which you hate
Activities which don’t suit your style and make you think “that’s just not me.”
3. Be honest with yourself
There’s a big difference between activities which are not your natural style – and activities which you’re scared to try out because they are outside your comfort zone.
So yes, play to strengths – but please don’t use this article as an excuse to avoid testing your comfort zone!
4. Keep a close eye on these 21 networking tips
1. Focus on networking with your warmest contacts FIRST
2. Be clear about your objectives and what you want (and don’t want)
3. Be generous in sharing ideas, resources, contacts
4. Don’t keep score
5. Be yourself
6. Ask lots of open questions – who? what? how? when?
7. Network with a wide range of contacts outside your immediate connections
8. Ensure you have an online presence and are using social media platforms to establish an online brand (Eg LinkedIn.com, start a blog etc)
9. Take a genuine interest in other people, their challenges and their goals (and not just your own needs)
10. Be systematic
11. Listen twice as much as you talk
12. Focus on the quality of relationships rather than the number of contacts you’ve got
13. Keep asking “How can I help you?” rather than “How can you help me?
14. Share and help others without expecting anything back
15. Keep nudging yourself outside your confort zone
16. Limit the time you spend on social media platforms. They can be great fun, but also a great drain on your time
17. Be spontaneous
18. If you’re not going to follow up religiously, don’t bother networking
19. Think long term relationships rather than short term job leads and opportunities
20. Don’t try and follow every tip on this list
21. Instead just incorporate ONE tip from above. Then another. Then another…
By Sital Ruparelia