Networking Skills

How are your networking skills?

Networking Skills
In many aspects of life, whether it’s business, career, or your private life, networking skills are important. An extreme extrovert can find networking energizing. Someone new to networking or a full-blown introvert can find it downright scary. For those who straddle the fence between introvert and extrovert, it can be uncomfortable.

Networking skills, like other life and business skills, can be learned. If you’re an extreme introvert, you may never lose that uncomfortable feeling when you network, but you learn to function and enjoy networking groups if you choose to develop your networking skills.

Here are a few tips to get you started in building better business networking skills:

1. Look at networking in a new way. Dr. Ivan Misner, the founder of Business Networking International (BNI), defines networking as “The process of developing and activating your relationships to increase your business, enhance your knowledge, expand your sphere of influence or serve the community.” When you focus on the word “relationships” it gives networking a whole new perspective.

2. Invite a friend to join you the first time you attend a networking event. Sharing an evening with a friend and having moral support can go a long ways towards making it a more enjoyable event.

3. Attend a networking event with a goal. How many new people would you like to meet? Is there someone specific you want to meet? How many people would you like to reconnect with? Decide what’s most important for you and go make it happen.

4. In the early stages of networking, the key word is “developing”. As with any other type of relationship, it starts with getting to know someone. That means being genuinely curious. Prior to the event develop a list of questions to start and continue a conversation. How did they get into their business or career? How long has it been? What do they enjoy the most? What has been the most challenging? Who are their ideal clients? . Make it about them, not about you, and the latter will follow.

This is the beginning of building your networking skills. As with any new skill, know it takes time, and the process can be enjoyable.

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