Successful business networking requires more than attending events or setting up a profile on LinkedIn.
Maybe you are a good networker on LinkedIn but fail to get any traction at in-person business events like tradeshows. Or you’re old school and win at the face-to-face interaction but don’t know where to start on business networking sites like LinkedIn.
Networking is essential to building a successful career, whatever it may be. We all must make meaningful connections online and also when turning up at business shows.
Are you finding connecting with professionals in your industry challenging, especially at trade shows and other business events?
By learning about the key traits of expert networkers and adopting the same habits, you can improve your networking skills and make valuable connections online and at every business show.
- What is business networking?
- How to use LinkedIn
- Networking at business shows and expos
- What are the ten habits of successful networkers?
What Is Business Networking?
Business networking refers to building and nurturing professional relationships with other individuals and organizations to achieve mutually beneficial goals. It involves establishing and maintaining relationships online and in person with individuals who can provide business opportunities, referrals, advice, and support.
Being a good salesperson can help in business networking. However, it is optional to be proficient at growing your professional network.
You will do well at networking with good communication skills, the ability to listen actively and empathetically, and the ability to add value to the conversation.
Ultimately, the key to being proficient at business networking is to be authentic, personable, and genuinely interested in the people you are networking with.
By building relationships based on mutual trust and respect, you can create a network of contacts who can help you achieve your professional goals, whether or not you are a natural salesperson, an introvert, or an extrovert.
To advance in your career, you should have a LinkedIn profile.
Setting up a profile on Linkedin is a good start; however, to be found and connect with professionals in your industry, you need to engage with people.
Users engage on LinkedIn in several ways, and you can use strategies to grow your connections.
Creating and sharing content
Create and share articles, videos, images, and other types of content to showcase your expertise, share insights and opinions, and connect with like-minded people and their networks. We share our articles on LinkedIn with our group and personal networks every week.
Commenting and liking
If you have a LinkedIn profile, you may see some users engaging with other people’s content by leaving comments or liking their posts. This helps to build relationships, start conversations, and increase visibility. This action may seem unnatural initially, but fake it until you make it. You can not mess it up if you show a genuine interest in the posts you’re reacting to.
Users can join LinkedIn groups relevant to their industry, interests, or job functions. This allows connecting with like-minded professionals and sharing knowledge and ideas. BusinessBlogs has a LinkedIn group called Business Talk and Blogs – join us. In groups, you can ask people to join your network, and they can ask you, too.
Users can search for and connect with other professionals on LinkedIn. This can be done by searching for people using keywords, job titles, company names, or other criteria. Users can also send personalized messages to potential connections to introduce themselves and start a conversation.
Strategies that people use to find people on LinkedIn include:
- Advanced search: Users can use LinkedIn’s advanced search feature to find people by location, industry, job title, company, and other criteria.
- Keyword search: Users can search for people using keywords related to their industry, skills, or interests.
- Recommendations: Users can ask their existing connections on LinkedIn to recommend people they should connect with.
- Groups: Users can search for and join LinkedIn groups relevant to their industry or interests. This provides an opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals who may be potential connections.
- Company pages: Users can search for people who work at specific companies by visiting the company’s LinkedIn page and viewing the list of employees.
Networking at Trade Shows and Expos
Expert networkers are well-prepared at business events like The Great British Business Show and expos. They have a plan for how they will work the room and goals to achieve.
Confidence and self-belief get professional networkers through every moment at business events. You, too, can draw on your self-assurance and composure to strike up a conversation with strangers by being friendly and approachable.
Networkers who possess and present genuine curiosity and interest in whom they meet at business shows do so by actively listening and then asking thoughtful questions to build rapport and trust.
Networkers follow up with everyone they say they will contact. Follow-up is the most important habit of successful business networkers. Whether through a thank-you email or a request for a meeting, networkers know they need to show the contact that the interaction they had at the business event was memorable and, therefore, worthy of keeping in touch.
10 Habits You Can Form To Succeed As A Networker
Networking online and in person can be improved when you form the right habits.
1. Set goals
You must know your goals to be a successful business networker. Set goals for your networking activities and develop a plan to achieve them. You can stay focused and track your progress even when events run for many hours.
2. Be proactive
Take the initiative to reach out to others to build relationships. Take advantage of opportunities to come to you; focus on being the creator of opportunities.
3. Listen well
Listen more than you talk, and ask questions to learn about the other person’s needs, goals, and challenges.
4. Add value
Offer your expertise, connections, or resources to provide value to other people’s networks so
you become invaluable to them.
4. Be real
Be genuine and sincere, and you will build relationships based on trust and mutual respect.
Show you always come through by doing what you say you will do.
Know why you want to build relationships – i.e., they must help you reach your goals.
Show flexibility, especially in negotiations like arranging meeting times and locations.
Adjust your approach based on the situation and the other person’s needs.
10. Follow up
Please make a point to follow up with people you meet and stay in touch with them over time.
Overall, experts in business networking recognize that relationships are the foundation of success.
When you invest time and effort into building and nurturing relationships over the long term, your connections grow, and so too do your opportunities. Follow the tips above for a remarkable uptick in your connections and progress.