Do we want to promote the organization? Do we want to reach a big customer, to strengthen our reputation in the field, or do we want to develop professionally, to change our job, or just to make friends? So many reasons to be concerned about how to better exploit and with the desired results this method of social interaction called business networking.
How many times happened to you to go to a business event (exhibition, conference, seminar etc.) from where you take a ton of business cards and then after a month, take a look at that pile of random business cards and do not remember much about the persons who have handed them to you? How many of those people have you kept in touch? How and how often? Even if every man is a unique individual in the universe, all humans are actually related to each other by subtle links related to mental and spirit and less subtle links related to social and material. Thus, networking, i.e. the conscious activity of a man to relate with other people is one of the most natural activities that can be transferred very easy in work and business. Personal interests (hobbies, personal development goals etc.) should determine thus the networking objectives.
Business networking is meeting and networking with others in a business context. This type of networking can be achieved through several channels: business events, trainings, social events organized by various companies and institutions, social networks like LinkedIn, Google +, Xing etc.
10 Golden Rules for Business Networking
- People do business with other people because they know and trust them. Your networking activity should focus on becoming that person of trust.
- Networking is a marathon not a sprint. It is about building long term relationships, not quick sales. Give people time to meet you and invest time in their knowledge.
- Networking is something you do not go somewhere. Do not sit back waiting for someone else to organize an event for you. You can do networking anywhere, with anyone.
- Manners are essential for a good networker. Treat people like you want to be treated, and they will treat you better then.
- Evaluate your regular networking activities. Your time is valuable so make sure you get a return on investment.
- Remember, no matter how challenging you find to get into a room full of strangers, and they want to meet you as much as you want to know them.
- Networking is different from socialization. While it is always better to enjoy networking activities, remember that they are still work.
- A good networker is always making cross over connections, linking people with other people and other sources of information. By doing so, you become a valuable person to know.
- It is good to have a generous attitude, but never keep a list of who owes you a favor. Favors that you have done will be returned in time.
- Quality is more important than quantity. Five best new contacts are better than 20 weak. One great new contact makes an event worthy to attend.