You’ve all heard that networking is essential to your business, but so many of us take it for granted and put it off. We’re too busy diving into the work that is immediately at hand. While that’s admirable, it is still important to network because this will help you grow connections, advance your career and see new opportunities. People can recommend you or your team or your company only if they hear about you! Here are some networking tips that will help you create stronger, and more meaningful business connections.
1. Don’t underestimate the power of a card. When someone asks for your business card, he or she is showing active interest in what you do. They are interested in buying from you or working with you in some capacity. Make sure your card is well designed and up to date. It’s also helpful to include a QR code so people can instantly upload your contact info to their smartphones.
2. Be willing to go out of your comfort zone. Talk to people at industry events, conferences, workshops and other events that are different from you or your department. Ask questions and show interest.
3. Treat everyone politely and kindly. You never know who you may work with later. Employees turn into future bosses and customers into partners. You may not know who the decision maker is immediately either at any company.
4. Be okay with rejection. People won’t always show interest in what you offer. But don’t let that discourage you from making other valuable connections.
5. Keep expanding your network. This requires persistence and some creativity too. Recognize that connections and networks are ultimately personal. Grow them with care.