Networking is one of the most underscored things in business and startup ventures. It is so important that a network is even likened to net worth. As in, your network is your net worth; that is according to Porter Gale. Networking should not be done anyhow though; there is a structured way to do it. The obvious thing is that you should network with high-quality and highly successful entrepreneurs or business people. Associate with people who represent or can contribute to what you desire to become. That is why we need to discuss business networking tips. I am sharing with you how you should network with strategic individuals.

Take Note Of Their Names

Have you ever noticed how embarrassing it is to not remember someone’s name? Many people can be offended if someone does not remember their names. It is much worse when they remember yours and you do not remember theirs. When you interact with strategic individuals ensure you take their names to heart. Make an effort to also ensure you know the right pronunciations. Some people get offended when you mispronounce their names. This will all be important for subsequent communication with that individual. You might meet them today and meet them next after a while but never forget their names.

Reach Out After First Interaction

During your first interaction, you must find a way to set the tone for subsequent communication. This implies that you must cultivate a rich conversation with them. They should see a need for them to continue being in touch afterwards. If you achieve that it makes it easier to get their contact details. If well done you will get their personal or direct contact details. If you get them, which you should, immediately reach out after your first interaction. Maybe the following day, you can reach out and make note of the conversation you had. You can single out some of the iconic parts of that conversation. This will show that you were engaged in the conversation. This again will set the tone for more communication and interactions.

Provide Unsolicited Value

In networking your target is usually someone who is highly sought after. To stand to them, you must be a person of value – to them. They must see that there is something you offer or they can benefit from you. If ever they feel you are out to just benefit from them or use them, they might shut you out. Find ways to provide value to them without them even asking. You can know exactly which areas by taking a keen interest in who they are and what they do. You must have figured some of that out from your first interaction. You must have also taken time to research them so that you have comprehensive details on them. If you can find a way to become valuable or indispensable to them, you would have nailed it. It will prime them to open themselves up to you and give you more access.

The Biggest Mistake To Avoid – Asking

Understandably, there will be a temptation to want to ask stuff from them e.g. favours. After all, if you are interested in networking with someone they are usually a portal to opportunities. However, never make the mistake of asking for things from them. Especially early on, that can drive them away because it will feel one-sided. What you must do is to create a conducive environment that just makes them do things for you by choice. Do not manipulate or coerce them to do things for you. Never be known as the person who is always asking or begging for things. That is not how you network. Like Keith Ferrazzi once said, ‘The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.

These 4 tips form the foundation of effective business networking. At the heart of genuine networking is being selfless. It is about seeking to be a solution or being of value to the next person. The beauty in that is you get what you give. Bob Burg put it perfectly when he said, ‘The successful networkers I know, the ones receiving tonnes of referrals and feeling truly happy about themselves, continually put the other person’s needs ahead of their own.