Strong networking is one powerful tool that is essential in building a successful business. It can be said to be the key to a successful career.  We have all heard the phrase “it depends on who you know” at least once in our lives. This goes to show that even if you have the skills, the money, the idea or the education you will still need the right connections to get you to your desired destination.  Building this strong base of connections is however not an easy task especially for my fellow introverted friends who shy away from crowds or those who don’t really know how to approach people they have never met before and strike a conversation. Connecting is all about your friendliness, your ability to engage and your willingness to give value first. Here are a few tips to help you on your networking journey.

Pick the right people.

Rich relationships lead to much more than just money. They lead to success, fulfilment and wealth. You don’t have to give out your business card or exchange contacts with everyone you meet at all the events you attend. For every event you attend, try to find out the type of people or the names of people who are likely to be present at the event beforehand. After that all you need to do is select a few who you think or know will be able to make a difference in your business or your career and concentrate on engaging with them at the event.

Bring something to the table.

Strong connections should yield useful benefits for all the parties involved. It is important that when networking both you and the other party equally gain something of value. This will help you to build a long term relationship with that person. In most of the networking situations, the influential people will be expecting you to ask for help. However if you turn that around and offer them some support or advice instead, your networking partner will be grateful and want to return the favour. The more you give value to people, the more they give value back to you. The more you do for them, the more you will mean something to them.

Networking with an important or influential person

Approaching or engaging with an influential person or a powerful person can be a little scary and right out of your comfort zone.However remember that such connections bring the most significant benefits. Do not push your sells or drill your way in. ensure the connection process is gradual and slow making sure not to over step your mark. Do not beg for recognition, it will be turned down. Be slow to say who you are and what you do. Be genuine and not slobber all over the important connection with high praise and insincere compliments. Be yourself; explain why you’re connecting and what you can bring to the table. Be interested and interesting. Influential people like to meeting compelling people. What makes you interesting? What makes you memorable? The answers to these questions are just as important when networking

Networking at a business event and social events

The secrete to networking at a business event is to demonstrate that you know something about the business or the domain that an ordinary person doesn’t. Start your conversation with a question not a statement. Listen more than you talk. Listen carefully and show interest, it’s more flattering. The more people you talk to the more opportunities you’ll have in making the right connections.  If it’s a social event, start by introducing yourself. Talk socially and try to make friends. Engage in in pleasant, friendly conversation. It’s encouraged to discuss the latest news, entertainment, or even the weather. However, stay away from controversial topics like religion and politics, you don’t want to make enemies so quickly.

Networking should become your lifestyle if you want to expand your circle. Always get into a social situation armed with a smile, a ready intro and some light topics to help get the conversation started.