Be a Networking Genius to Get Ahead in Business

Networking doesn’t have a default or a manual to guide you on your journey. You must create your own path—discovering and refining what works best for you.

Your preference may be in-person networking, others may prefer to network over the phone. But what if in-person meetings aren’t necessarily your preference, but more of a default in your personal journey?

Everyone has a different preference or default regarding networking and meeting with others. The needs and goals of your network are changing frequently, so your approach may also need to change so that you implement different methods of networking over time.

Consider these four options to add variety to your networking efforts and increase productivity:

  1. Don’t be afraid to mix online and offline approaches for networking

In-person meetings may make it easier to create deeper connections but you can only schedule so many meetings in one day’s work. On the other hand, social platforms make it attainable to reach numerous individuals all at one time. Another perk to online networking is that no matter where those you wish to network with are stationed, you are still able to meet with them via internet. Phone calls and video chats are another way to be able to network worldwide, while providing a deeper connection than a simple online chat. You don’t want to eliminate all in-person exchanges, but don’t limit yourself by having only in-person meetings. Expand your networking approaches, learn the preferences of others and adjust your networking plans accordingly.

  1. When it comes to networking, size matters—but not in the way you may think

Mix up the size of your networking events; go big and go small. Big meetings, such as a conference or social party, allow you to host lots of professional colleagues and get in-person interactions while having a large-scaled gathering. These large events are useful for building a strong network and trying to meet a specific colleague or potential client without calling a one-on-one meeting. Invite that one person you desire to meet and put forth effort to exchange conversation and contact information at the big event. On the other hand, one-on-one meetings give you the chance to focus all of your attention on one individual. This set-aside-time is a great opportunity to get to know the other person, make deeper connections, and learn their preferences of networking. Meeting them “where they are” in their comfort zone regarding networking is likely to make the result beneficial for you both.

  1. Change the reasons you reach out 

In any meeting setting, whether it be online or offline, you want to have thoughtful ideas and content to contribute to the conversation. Stray away from making everything you say about yourself and your business. That doesn’t mean you can’t make a point about your business or ask for help, but try to focus on the other person in the meeting with you without asking for anything in return. You may also want to include generous phrases such as saying thank you, congratulations, sending an idea, making a referral, or simply wishing a happy holiday.

  1. Expand your networking efforts outside of the circle

As you add variety to your networking methods, also add variety to the people you are networking with, reaching outside of your inner circle. Having a variety of audience members or potential people to network with, also allows you to avoid becoming to specialized and focused in one direction. Reaching out to different people also means befriending individuals at different levels; junior and senior to you. Getting outside of your personal circle stretches the boundaries of your comfort zone, helps you grow, and dodges becoming stuck – or finding yourself involved – with the same people, same ideas, and same platforms.