No matter what business you run, it is essential to build a huge network of people in order to run your business smoothly. The reason people network is because opportunities can be found in the most unlikely of corners.
Here are 7 ways entrepreneurs can network more effectively:
I. Ask open ended questions
Because networking is a two-way street, it is important to listen to the person as well. So, try throwing a volley of open-ended questions so that the other person feels like an important part of the conversation and gets more opportunities to speak about himself.
II. Always carry your business card
No one will keep the chit of paper with your name and number on it. You need to hand them a proper business card which speaks of your credentials for a greater professional appeal. You never know where you might meet important people so you should carry extra business cards everywhere.
III. Be equipped with conversation starters
You wouldn’t want to be at a loss of what to say in front of someone important. Arm yourself with interesting conversation starters which could be anything ranging from politics to current affairs. Once the other person starts showing interest, you can take the conversation smoothly from there.
IV. Go with a mission
When you know that some people can be useful to you and your business, target them and decide upon a good time to strike a conversation. Try and find out more about the person from social media so that conversing with them becomes easier for you. Don’t hesitate to go up to the person and introduce yourself. After a minimal conversation starter, go straight to the point because important people are busy and don’t want to dabble in small talk.
V. Don’t be pushy
While trying to strike a conversation, you need to give undivided attention to the person but if he doesn’t seem interested in the conversation, don’t be pushy and force him to interact with you. This will only result in the other person becoming irritated which isn’t good for you.
VI. Spend time on social networking
Social media is a great place to meet and build relationships with people. LinkedIn is a professional, social platform which gives you a chance to meet people from the same field and different fields as well. Spend some time daily on social media to gain more contacts and establish more relations. You could also tap other platforms like Facebook, Twitter etc.
VII. Follow-up is crucial
Just building a database which has a huge network of people isn’t sufficient. You need to constantly follow up on those people with occasional messages on festivals, invitations to parties etc. Also, if you’ve committed to call back someone, make sure you do what you have promised. Arrange further meetings with people you think might be beneficial to your company. Whatever you do, just make sure the people you’ve interacted with, remember you and are there for you when there is a crisis.