The Ultimate Guide to Building an Effective Networking Brand
Aha Moment: The best kind of networking happens naturally. Unfortunately, not everyone is inherently good at networking.
It’s important that you ramp up these skills.
Today, even though we have devices and apps that build your online network, you need to know how to connect with people to take advantage of career opportunities — whether you’re looking for a new job or want to advance in your current one.
The truth is, networking opportunities are always present. You just have to know how to maximize them to build stronger connections at every corner.
That’s what this guide to effective networking is all about.
Who knows? The next person you connect with could be the one to offer you a dream job.
1. Get comfortable with starting a conversation
The first step in this guide to effective networking, don’t ignore the obvious when connecting with people.
Getting to know the person requires asking basic questions like where they live, their job history or their favorite foods.
These questions will start building the connection so you can gain rapport and move towards relationship.
2. Get physical–sort of
Your personal appearance and greeting are the ways you’ll connect physically with colleagues. It is said that your personal appearance introduces you well before you speak
Dress with an intention at all times to make a good first impression.
This involves not just the way you look: Posture, tone of voice and facial expression are also important.
When you first greet someone, be sure to make a strong connection. If you’re comfortable with it and use it widely, go ahead and hug. But don’t force yourself into this mold if you’re not a hugger.
A strong, firm handshake goes a long way, too. Arguably the best handshake is the “Catch-Pump-Release” method.
Practice this until you can shake hands without thinking about it:
- Make eye contact
- Point your thumb straight up as you extend your hand at a ninety degree angle.
- Grasp the other person’s hand. Your thumb should be parallel to the other person’s thumb.
- Pump hands, moving up, then down. Up, then down.
- As you pump hands, bring your body slightly toward the other person.
- Let go of hands but maintain eye contact as you release.
3. Make your body language speak for you
Another component of nonverbal communication involves eye contact, posture and facial expression.
In fact, your body language makes up 55 percent of what people will use to base their first impression on — so in any networking situation it’s important to always consider “what does your body language say about you?” when interacting with someone.
Here’s a rule: Look them in the eye, lean-in to show interest, and smile to open the connection. You send a signal well before you say a word.
4. Share more. Care more
You can build an emotional connection with the people you meet by conversing in a way that shows your emotions, outlook or beliefs.
When you can share common ground on a work situation, family life experiences or goals, you’ll build a stronger connection with that person.
When people know you care, they care to get to know you.
5. Engage with energy
Based on your enthusiasm and tone of voice, people will either make a connection or they won’t.
You can maximize your networking potential simply by paying attention to your tone of voice the next time you say “Hello.”
Just put some pizzazz behind it. A strong decibel says “I’m interested in speaking with you,” or “I’m looking forward to our conversation.” Always remember people connect with people who are enthusiastic about connecting.
6. Become an experience not just an encounter
This final principle is an important one in creating your “brand recall” with the people with which you network. People create social interactions based on the actual experience and their memory of it.
To create a lasting memory of your brand make sure to leave people with a story or some memorable fact about you and your encounter.
When people remember you as an “experience” it creates a lasting memory of your brand and strengthens your networking relationship.
Your networking success depends on you. This guide to effective networking can help you get there.
Build your approach from the ground-up by practicing ways to start a conversation, getting physical, using nonverbal communication, connecting with emotions, employing verbal strategies and creating a memorable experience.
Unsure of how far you can get with networking on your own?
Networking is work — but when it works, it yields great rewards for your career!