10 tips to improve your networking performance

20/11/2020

Networking is central to running a successful business. Try these tips to maintain your network during Covid-19 and beyond.

networking advice

Research shows that people with diverse networks live longer, are stronger mentally and physically, earn more money and are happier. Try these tips to maintain your network during Covid-19 and beyond.

  1. Reconnect with your network: 80% of success in networking comes not from meeting new people but from maintaining contact with your existing network. Review your existing network and make a bigger and better effort with those people. Refresh lapsed relationships. 
  2. Get comfortable with the technology: It doesn’t matter what platform you use - Zoom, LinkedIn or Skype - the important thing is to show upPeople are a lot more forgiving about technology now, as so many of us are working from home. Ensure that you are looking into the camera when you are speaking online.
  3. Be curious: The best networkers are inherently curious. This is all about asking open-ended questions and listening attentively to the answers. Become an active listener, listen like an interviewer and see listening as an activity. 
  4. Talk to strangers: Your network should reflect the diversity of the economy you work in or want to work in. Connect with unlike-minded people: those who are different, and who are not from your field or your social circle. 
  5. Ask to be introduced: It is much more effective than making a cold connection. By asking to be introduced, you are leveraging off other people’s networks. Most people don’t ask for referrals. 
  6. Build trust: People have lost trust in many things that were held in high regard in the past, such as the government, financial institutions and the church. That makes it all the more valuable and desirable. Trust is not deserved: it is earned. Build trust into your networks, which will make for lasting relationships.
  7. Ask for advice: People love giving it and are often rarely asked. People sometimes imagine that asking for advice is a sign of weakness. Try using the following question: “if you were me what would you do?” 
  8. Become the ‘go to’ person on a topic: Become known as an expert on a topic and share your knowledge and expertise. Put your talents on display. Find opportunities to perform in front of others.  
  9. Never give up: Remember that life is a game of inches and you only have to be a little bit better. Identify the ‘nudge factors’ and ‘tipping agents’ that will give you the edge in close deals, and swing them in your favour. 
  10. Be a giver: Every time you meet somebody, think about what you can do for them rather than what they can do for you. The more you give, the more you get. 

The key to successful networking is to implement a large number of small attitudinal and behavioural changes. The real goal of networking is to make a connection: the benefits come later. The Law Society has useful resources to support you:

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This article originally appeared in the November 2020 Member eZine. For more information, and to subscribe, visit eNewsletters.