Did you know that 85% of open positions are filled through networking?
No man is an island. You need to build relationships that carry you through business, your career, and even enrich your family life.
However, human nature is such that people fear meeting strangers. That becomes a difficulty because how do you expand your world if you don’t interact with more people?
Keep reading for seven ideas to help you make connections and nurture relationships that grow your business.
1. Cultivate Genuine Relationships
If you are to make your business networking successful, it has to start from a strong foundation. That foundation is and will always be a genuine relationship.
Many people are adept at discerning those who are genuine about connecting and those who are only looking out for themselves. And there are few things people loathe than the latter.
It’s more vital to cultivate one genuine relationship than to have hundreds of superficial business relationships. That insight should drive you whenever you mingle with others as you grow your career.
The best way to develop these genuine relationships is to be a keen listener, reciprocate, and have shared goals and interests. Musing over shared interests is one of the best ways to network with strangers at any event you attend.
When you cultivate genuine relationships, your connections will look out for your interests. Part of that will be because they know for a fact that you are looking out for them, and that’s hard to find, which drives career growth.
2. Give First
As you connect with others, your motto should always be to give first. When you build a habit of offering value first, others can see you’re genuinely looking out for them. You’ll then build a strong connection from there.
Take time to ask other entrepreneurs what they are working on and develop a genuine interest. If you aren’t familiar with their field, offer to introduce your connection to a contact who can help.
When you make such an introduction, it’s equivalent to you helping them yourself. And people don’t forget that kind of support.
As you learn to offer value first, aim to be extremely helpful. Make it an intentional habit by planning it out. For example, you can decide to help a certain number of contacts in a month, which creates a virtuous cycle as time goes on.
3. Approach Networking Events Differently
It’s a curious thing to see people at an event spend time with those they know. Isn’t the point of attending such events to expand your network? Can you do that without meeting new people?
Instead of attending events on instinct, you need to plan. When you come across an event that piques your interest, scan the agenda to see who you’d want to meet.
These could be speakers or fellow attendees, and you should challenge yourself beforehand to meet some new faces.
If you’re planning to meet a speaker, know that others also plan to do the same. Thus, you won’t get as much face time when you all mob the speaker after the event. Instead, talk to the speaker before they hit the stage.
4. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
When choosing which event to attend and mingle, we tend to stick to a particular set. The problem is that, over time, making the same choices only produces the same results.
To truly broaden your network, you need to go out of your comfort zone and attend events outside your regular circuit. Being in a new environment you’re unfamiliar with will push you to explore a whole new world.
Even if it seems not to hold much promise on the surface, purpose to attend that event you’d not graduate to. At the very least, plan to attend, have a good time, and meet five new people.
You’ll realize pretty quickly that once you attend one such event, it opens your mind up to new possibilities. From there, you add a rich layer of unexpected relationships to your circle of influence.
5. Look at Social Media Differently
Like the events you attend, social media is one place where you can easily gravitate to your inherent biases. While that may be fun during your downtime, you want to expand your horizons.
Decide to follow ten new people on the networks you’re on that may not be in your sphere of influence. Instead of opting for the choices the algorithm offers, look for people who know areas you know nothing about.
Not only will you add a new angle to your social media feed, but you’ll also bump into others adjacent to them that enrich your perspective.
6. Double Down on Your Weak Connections
It’s intriguing to notice that research shows that many people got their jobs through contacts they rarely or occasionally encounter. What’s more interesting is that this dates back to as early as 1973.
What does this mean? Passive connections are critical to your growth.
Therefore, it’s only wise to get into the habit of keeping up with old acquaintances. You can set a reminder to reach out to people you haven’t talked to in over six months every week.
Outreach doesn’t have to be complex. It can be as simple as inviting them out for coffee or calling to catch up with them. The only challenge here is that, at times, it can lead to transactional conversations.
To sidestep this, you can ask what they have been reading or listening to lately. You’ll have a relatable connection point that can develop into a more natural conversation.
7. Schedule It
Building a network and nurturing relationships won’t happen by accident. You need to be intentional and pencil it in as you would any other crucial appointment. The more intentional you are about it, the more natural the habit becomes to you.
You can have a standing appointment each week to help you make connections. What you’ll find over time is that small interactions add up to help you grow your relationships.
Your Networking Skills Build Your Net Worth
As long as you don’t meet new people, you won’t grow your circle and build mutually beneficial relationships. Look beyond your fear of networking and enhance your career while interacting and helping others.
Introducing Me is a referral platform that helps you network, build, and nurture relationships. Sign up today to take your sphere of influence to a whole new level.