According to the Canadian Networking Survey, 60% of people say that networking has helped them find new clients, referrals, and job opportunities. Understand that networking is all about talking to people, making connections, and developing long term relationships for mutual gain.
Allow me to explain it in simple words.
How does networking make you productive?
At work, networking can increase productivity. It facilitates better collaboration, provides faster communication among group members, and attracts and retains highly skilled professionals.
- Shared Goals
The presence of common goals facilitates mutual understanding and exchange of ideas and wisdom -- consider it the force that holds people together. Researchers have found that the higher the common goals, the more favorable the attitude toward knowledge sharing.
- Sound advice
Everyone has a unique perspective. It's a good idea to listen to different advice from experienced coworkers or people with similar backgrounds. They can potentially guide or help you out with your ideas or problems.
- Growth in self-confidence
Confidence draws people towards you and opens up an opportunity to gain information and share information with others. Plus, when we form new connections and meet like-minded people, we naturally gain better self-confidence.
- Social Networks
When opportunity knocks you, you should be in a position to take advantage of it. Having a variety of networks can help you to grab the opportunity. It also allows people to communicate with each other without geographical barriers!
How to actually network effectively
- Listen more, talk less.
As a rule of thumb, don’t be the type of person who talks nonstop about themselves in a conversation. Be a good listener. It can produce fruitful results as you can hear the full conversation and the nuances.
However, silence in a particular situation can be a bad thing. We should not forget that communication is a two-way street. It’s all about balance.
- Improve your public speaking skill
With excellent speaking skills, you will have the opportunity to grab the attention of almost everybody, increase your network, and open up new opportunities. Try humor - that almost never fails in networking.
It's about knowing what to say at the right moment and being confident and comfortable with yourself.
- Try to help somebody.
Focus on making sure that you're helping somebody. Who you help and what you help with matters. What you can do for others is more important than what you do. You’re more memorable that way, and sometimes, this pays back ten folds.
- Body language
Being able to pick up on body language will help you in your networking process. To predict whether or not they are feeling open or closed: check the position of their body, such as their hands and feet.
To see if a group is accepting people to enter their conversation: see if their feet are pointing outward.
There are a couple of signs to notice the closed-loop body language. If their feet are facing each other, or if their hands are hidden in their pockets or in their arms, they're most likely not expecting anybody else to come into that conversation.
An open-loop signal will be if someone has one or both feet pointing out or if somebody's arms relaxed and open. That means they're open to accepting people into their conversation and you're invited to join them. It'll also tell you it's worth getting involved in.
This part is essential, especially when it's come to networking. It's not a one-time thing - it's about maintaining.
When you show up consistently, you can take pride in your networking group, and networking groups can't thrive unless people in it take pride in being part of it.
Networking is similar to creating friendship. So, make networking a regular activity in a way that’s suitable for you.
- Be curious
To make people really feel important, listen, but also be curious. What do they do? Why? And how? Learn about their experiences, their struggles, their passion.
Separate yourself from the crowd that way, and I guarantee you’ll get remembered. It’s a win-win situation, you get to learn about them deeper than the surface level, and they get to be heard.
- Online Networking
Online networking made it easy to connect people from all over the world. It’s quicker as there is no need to plan for travel.
However, people are generally busy or occupied. Give them a reason to chat. Put effort into communicating with them by researching and coming prepared on the chat. Or, find out a problem they could be having, and come up with a solution.
In a group virtual networking call, instead of having a hundred people in the room, break it down to a smaller group (6 or less) so the setting is intimate enough to really get to know the people around.
- Network in a networking event
When you go to a networking event, make sure to know what you want to get out of that. Plan out what you want to convey. Reach out to those people whose work you find interesting.
Looks out for a specific type of people - those that fit a mastermind group. A mastermind group usually contains 6-8 incredibly effective people. They’re the people that are passionate and can inspire you to grow.
Networking events don't necessarily have to be a business event. You can go to events where you can find people with something in common. If you like any activity, game, or sports, then you can go and meet like-minded people there and expand your networking.
It's easier to make conversation because of you both and at least something in common. So, focus on the hobby or the things that you're interested in.
- Networking for introverts and shy people
But there is a misconception in networking that you have to be able to talk to every single person, meet everyone, and follow up with everyone. Not necessarily. Networking is about getting to know the right person.
Network with the intent to meet just 1-3 individuals. Engage in a deep conversation that you vibe with.
Here is a list of what NOT to do
- Don't put on a front. Even if you do connect with people, you have to keep up that front to maintain that.
- Don't send the kind of typical message to people that they get 100s of times every day. Make some effort and be interested if you do want to talk to that person.
- No panhandling. If you're contacting someone for the first time, don't try to sell your product or get something out of them on the first message.
- Don't lack consistency.
- Pull, but never push. It's about finding out more about the other person than telling them about you, your company and your product.
This is just an introduction to networking. Want to learn more? Check out and buy a book on networking written by a networking expert.