I came across an interesting blog about business networking called BusinessNetworkingAdvice.com. The blog author, Josh Hinds, has interviewed several people to get their thoughts on Business Networking so it’s a good read. Josh asks two questions:
1.Â How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?
2.Â Can you share a few ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?
The answers vary but some key elements include:
- Networking is more than just trying to see what you can get from someone else.
- Networking is an art form.
- Networking is a skill critical for success in business.
If could add my two cents, my answers would be as follows (I haven’t read through all the answers so I hope mine aren’t too close to someone else’s):
1. How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?
I define business networking as the skill of being able to meet another person and discover how you can both help each other to achieve your business goals.
I feel it’s an important skill because what’s between you and what you need are one or more people. Effective networkers are able to figure out who they need to meet to achieve their goals and how they can provide something of value to those individuals.
2. Can you share a few ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?
If you know ahead of time that you will be in a networking situation (you have a meeting with someone or are attending an event), then research the person or people that will be there. This way you can figure out ahead of time how you can help them.
The other thing I would recommend is to practice networking as much as possible. Whether you’re at work, a family function or waiting in line at a store, talk to the people around you. Get good at asking questions and looking for opportunities to provide help to others — especially when you least expect it. For example, I like to vacation at Walt Disney World so I can’t count the amount of times I’ve struck up conversations with people in lines for food or rides. The conversations not only include the parks but advice on travel and even business.
The final thing I would suggest would be to become a better listener. Becoming genuinely interested in others will dramatically improve the effectiveness of your networking.
This is definitely a site to check out.