Networking is one of the most important skills to have. Whether you're a college student, recent graduate, or working professional, here are 4 tips you can use to successfully network and expand your reach.
Four tips on networking. The first tip is be a good genuine person, be nice to everyone. I know it sounds ridiculously corny, but you'll be amazed how often paths will cross. You know it's funny, I was in a restaurant the other night and I hear from behind, I hear, "Hey Tom." And I turn around, and it's an individual that I had worked with 25 years ago. We obviously spent time catching up, and then all of a sudden he mentions, "You know Tom, you bought my first beer at ABC Firm." And I thought to myself, there were a lot of beers purchased at ABC Firm, and for him to remember that I had purchased his first beer speaks volumes. The point being that something relatively insignificant that you do at a point in time may not be relatively insignificant to others. Tip number two, keep in mind that networking is a two way street. So, as you approach networking and you build those relationships, it's absolutely imperative that you keep in mind that it's not all about how you can you help me, but how I can help you. Tip number three, embrace the process. People often think about networking, they're intimidated by that word, networking. It shouldn't intimidate, it should be enjoyed. And it's easy to enjoy the networking process when you first seek to find common ground with the individual you're dialoguing with. Tip number four, and I save the best for last, and I think it's the one that most often gets overlooked, and that is listen first, talk second. I tell my business development team all the time to be a good business developer you need to listen to your customers, listen to their challenges. That allows you to formulate solutions that will help them overcome those challenges. Take the same approach in terms of networking. Listen first, talk second. Mark Twain put it best, if we were to talk more than listen, we would have two tongues and one ear.