How to Become an Expert Networker
Networking. Sometimes this word can have a negative connotation. It can sound “sleazy” or “slimy” to some people. Sometimes people associate it with trying to get a sale from someone. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. There is a good way and a bad way to go about networking, and we’re here to show you the good way!
First let’s start out with what networking is. Networking is all about learning about others and their lives. It simply means making friends and talking to people. To help understand, use the words “connect” or “make friends” instead. You probably network every day and you don’t even realize it! Have you read a good book lately and told someone about it? That’s networking. Tried an amazing recipe and then later shared it on Facebook? Networking. Gotten your hair done somewhere and then referred a friend? Networking. It’s not hard, and we do it in our everyday lives!
There are three things that we want you to remember when you are networking. If you do these three things, you will have no problems!
Think about networking like dating. You’re just getting to know someone, and then eventually you will marry them. If you asked someone to marry you on the first date, things probably wouldn’t go too well. This is the same thing as networking. You have to get to know someone and build that trust up before you provide them value.
Now, let’s talk about the best places to network. Think about things you love to do and what comes natural to you – that is where it will be the most comfortable to network. People want to be around like-minded people. Network anywhere you would make a new friend! The gym, a restaurant, shopping, the grocery store. You can even set up an event. If you love to go rock climbing, post on Instagram and say you’re looking for a group to go this weekend. Your goal at the end of networking should be to connect with that person via social media. Ask for their Instagram handle, Facebook page, email, etc.
These don’t have to be huge, extravagant events. Just invite a few friends over and ask each of them to bring a friend. Before you know it, you’ll have a bunch of people in a room! One loose rule that we try to stick to is to meet 3-5 new people each week. You have no idea how you could benefit their life, or vice versa. Always strive to “network up.” Go to places that intimidate you and find those high-level people you want to connect with. Be the leader who you want to attract; believe in yourself that you have value to bring to people and amazing things will happen.
The most important thing is to network to serve. If you go into networking with this mindset, magical things will happen. Humans are meant to live and interact in groups. Gain common ground with someone, be interested in what they have to say, and before you know it you will have a new friend. Serve on people and love on them. Take your business completely out of it and think of the needs of others and how you can fulfill those needs. We are destined to live a life of service, so by going out in the world, meeting new people, and asking yourself “how can I make this person’s life better,” the world will soon become a lot better place!
If you have any networking tips, drop them in the comments below! We’d love to hear your advice.
-Tyler and Kelley