Good connections are the key to success. Because often, it rather depends on who you know than on what professional skills you have. This may seem unfair, but we will reveal here how you should approach other people in order to practise a successful networking:
Stay true to yourself
The first basic rule might sound profound, but it is nonetheless absolutely essential: always stay true to yourself. Trying to impress others at all cost, can quickly mislead one to behave differently or to invent some successes. In the end however, the truth will always out, wherefore it is the best to stay honest in any case. And if you are accepted for who you really are, that is much more fulfilling, anyway.
Put quality over quantity
Another mistake which is often made when trying to network, is to aim at selling oneself to the future business contacts in the first place. The actual point is, however, to build up long-term relationships and to evoke sympathy. Moreover the general rule “quality before quantity” applies also with networking! Numerous superficial acquaintances will not be of use to you. It is the few, but close contacts who will do you a favour.
“Coming late is in” – if you stick to this maxim, you will have a lot more difficulties with networking than the ones who appear at the event at the stipulated time. Because punctuality does not only signalise that the event and the guests there are important to you, but it also shows that you are an organised person one would like to connect with. Moreover, it is much easier to socialize in the small circle of the early attendants than later in a room full of people who all have already found their dialogue partners.
Remember every little detail of the conversation with your future business contacts, no matter how unimportant it may seem and if necessary, even take notes afterwards. Knowing what your counterpart likes to eat, which places he has already travelled and which outlook he represents, can become useful later on in some circumstances. Moreover, you can come up trumps with your knowledge at your next dialogue and therefore prove real interest.
In addition to that, you should get clear about what you expect from the event beforehand and which new contacts you would like to establish there. The next step is to consider specific information which you want to obtain from your counterpart and which brings you closer to your professional goals. If you only make small talk and ask some general standard questions, you will appear unprepared and unfocused and will scarcely linger in the other’s memories. It also cannot hurt to address the respective person via e-mail with a subsequent question, fitting your conversation again after the event in order to cement ties.