It wouldn’t be a stretch to say networking is one of the most important ways to build your brand and business. This has been the case within several professional fields for decades and only seems to increase in importance with the role social media is taking in all aspects of business. Thankfully now, combining both face to face interactions and an online presence is easier than ever.
For some, networking in person is extremely natural. Social butterflies can be spotted at nearly every event, making their way around the room with ease and grace. These kind of people make networking at events look like a breeze. Others may experience more confidence networking in other ways, through social media. Both aspects of networking are valuable and offer benefits to your organization.
If you’re the type to naturally glide through social events, these are prime opportunities to connect with other valuable community members to share what you’re offering. And since networking loses some value once it becomes one-sided, the ability to get a glimpse into what others have to offer is another very important part of the conversation. Asking sincere questions and genuinely listening to the response is something that should go without saying, but it does tend to happen, and much too often. Replying with relevant comments and questions shows you’re engaged in the conversation. And obviously interruption is a networking no-no. Let them finish chatty butterfly!
These kind of events can also be tricky if social anxiety comes into play. If your strengths lie in social media networking rather than in person events, there are still ways to enter into social situations with care that add value to your brand. Social anxiety is more common than you may think, affecting 7% of the population at any given time. That number tends to rise as we get older, climbing to around 13%. It’s a great trick to go to an event with someone you know so the fear of approaching someone you don’t know is quelled. Ease potential anxiety however you may choose, taking breaks from the crowd whenever you need, etc. It’s not necessarily about how many people you can speak to throughout the course of the night, but the quality of your interactions.
Quality is of the utmost importance, especially since around 70% of positions are filled through networking opportunities. It kind of is about who you know, and while that’s not the case in every situation, having a reliable system for meeting people can certainly help develop your ideas, find the right people for roles you need filled and so much more. Social networks like LinkedIn or Facebook provide opportunities to showcase your strengths and stay in contact with those you may meet at events. Like anything online, be sure to connect with people you trust and don’t share anything you don’t feel comfortable sharing!
Networking can be as easy or as difficult as you make it. Being seen at events combined with a strong online presence are endlessly valuable tools to boost your business or organization and get the results you’re looking for.