Effective networking is a crucial skill for personal and professional success. Whether you're seeking career opportunities, building a business, or simply looking to expand your social circle, mastering the art of networking is key. The following tips and advice guide you through the loops of networking, emphasizing the importance of authenticity, active listening, and meaningful connections.
We asked entrepreneurs what their best networking tips and advice are and here are the responses;
#1- To give before you receive
I've connected with professionals since I was a young entrepreneur, and what my mentors taught me still rings true today: “You have to give before you can receive.” Networking isn't just about exchanging business cards or making small talk; it's about building genuine relationships and offering value to others. You have to approach networking with a giving mindset, where you are willing to share your knowledge and expertise, offer support and assistance, and connect people with valuable resources. With this attitude, you will gain trust and respect, which will make people more willing to help you in return.
Thanks to Eric Eng, AdmissionSight!
#2- Effective follow-up
Effective follow-up is the key to networking and it involves understanding the other person's interests and offering something beneficial. After your initial meeting, send a personalized message referencing a specific topic or need they mentioned. For instance, if they expressed interest in a particular challenge or resource, highlight how you or someone you know can assist with that. This approach shows you listened and are invested in providing value, making the interaction mutually beneficial and more likely to foster a lasting connection.
Thanks to Jason Tan, Engage AI!
#3- Sharing content demo
When meeting developers, architects, or advertisers at industry events, I always come prepared with engaging content to provide physical evidence of NoTriangle's unrivaled mastery. These dramatic displays inevitably attract crowds eager to learn our advanced techniques producing such striking photorealism. And they seed meaningful discussions on partnering for their next monumental build. We essentially let our stunning portfolio market itself interact by interaction. I coach my team to lead with the artistry too – avoid generic small talk and dive right into the nuances of realizing cutting-edge aesthetics or engineering logistics through Unreal Engine finesse. These passionate conversations authentically excite, sparking fruitful professional connections
Thanks to Lukas Berezowiec, No Triangle Studio!
#4- Present opportunities to clients
I have never enjoyed the traditional sense of networking – going out specifically to meet people who complement your mission, purpose – your unique way of serving the world. Having said that I am probably the greatest networker that you will meet. I have had a lifetime of building relationships, and I have developed mutual trust, respect, and interest in others. This has paid off tremendously in business because I reach out to people when I see opportunities that would interest them. This has also been a benefit to my clients who come to me for coaching and as another unexpected bonus, they end up establishing networks and connections that are invaluable to them.
Thanks to Suzana Mihajlovic, Your2Minds Pty Ltd!
#5- Impart knowledge
Being an entrepreneur allows me the freedom to innovate and create, shape my own future, and have a tangible impact. I love seeing my ideas come to life and making a difference for others. My passion extends to my love of gardening; the ability to nurture a seed into a blooming plant mirrors my business approach. I relish sharing my horticultural insights, whether it's about succulents, hydroponics, or vegetable growing — it's exhilarating to impart knowledge that can help someone else’s garden thrive.
Thanks to Lindsey Hyland, Urban Organic Yield!
#6- Skip the shop talk
“Skip the shop talk. When you meet face-to-face with someone at a conference, don't let the first question you ask them be “What do you do?”. You're more likely to make a real connection, and be remembered afterward if you open with something more personal or unusual. “Where's the coolest place you've been for a conference?” is one of my favorites – it's relevant, it's a fun question to be asked, and it usually opens an enjoyable discussion about traveling.”
Thanks to Freya Ward, Headley Media!
#7- Using Facebook rather than LinkedIn
The best networking tool is Facebook! With countless groups of aficionados from all walks of life, you can share experiences, ask for tips get them quickly, and establish meaningful professional relationships in a way that's so much more natural than on specialized networks such as LinkedIn. Better yet, people tend to be much more honest, straightforward, and amicable than on LinkedIn. For example, Facebook has allowed me to learn almost everything I know about digital marketing! Even today, I revisit my favorite groups almost daily to get my updates on everything.
Thanks to Brad Gall, BG Electrical & Air Con!
#8- Making people comfortable
I usually break the ice at networking events by trying to make the other person comfortable. “Do you find these things as awkward as I do?” is a great question for doing that. It takes the pressure off them and off you. Networking gets a lot easier once you realize that it’s not about you, it’s about the person you’re talking to. The secret of effective networking is that it’s all about asking questions and finding out about the other person.
Thanks to Barry Maher, Barry Maher & Associates!
#9- Help others get what they want
Networking is a critical factor in career success. People like to help people they know and trust. Knowing who to call when you have a problem need information or even have an opportunity is what networking is all about. It’s the process of giving, sharing information, and helping others. You become an influencer and information magnet; all by helping others get what they need. Because this is mutual, they will help you get what you need. Strategies include – Building a robust LinkedIn profile and focusing on creating a curated LinkedIn community. Targeting in-person, in networking events. Dress appropriately with plenty of business cards.
Thanks to Damian Birkel, Professionals In Transition® Support Group, Inc.!
#10- Power of community service
Firstly, know your business inside out. Having an engaging elevator pitch is vital. Your business card is your silent ambassador. Joining local business organizations like the Chamber of Commerce can significantly expand your network. Attending trade shows and conferences related to your industry is another excellent way to network and stay abreast of industry trends. The power of community service Is an effective way to increase visibility and credibility within your community. Sharing your knowledge and embracing the digital age as well as active listening and follow-up is key. Lastly, measure the return on your networking investment.
Thanks to Josh Michaels, Money4Loans!
#11- Ask questions
Some people love talking about themselves, so I love asking questions. This usually saves me talking and gives me an insight into their needs and wants. What I always do after attending an event is to follow up with people I had a conversation with. I send them an email or a message on Linkedin mentioning something we spoke about or share an article, website, or advertisement that might be of interest to them. The best networkers are those who forge relationships and keep in touch. I strive to be the person everyone wants to speak to because I am always introducing people to one another, whether for future collaborations or just to chat about a new target market that might be perfect for them.
Thanks to Mangla Sachdev, Expat Business In A Bag!
#12- Be authentic
One of the best networking tips is always to be authentic and genuine. The worst mistake anyone can make is approaching others with an agenda or appearing phony. It is also crucial to maintain a positive attitude and be interested in what others have to say. It is an excellent opportunity to listen, learn, and share ideas. Finally, it is essential to be open-minded and stay curious. By keeping an open mind, you can learn from people you might not think have anything to offer.
Thanks to Ben Goodman, 4A Security & Compliance!
#13- Mutually beneficial relationship
My best networking advice is to approach it as a mutually beneficial relationship rather than a transaction and be curious about the people you meet. Listen more, and show real interest in their ideas and challenges. This provides meaningful insights or assistance, which can foster long-term relationships. Additionally, don’t underestimate the power of local events and community gatherings. Face-to-face interactions can create a stronger bond than online ones. Here, I blend my digital expertise with personal interests. This unique aspect often sparks deeper conversations and connections, standing out in the memory of those I meet.
Thanks to Matej Zeleznik, D-Studio Consulting!
#14- Talk to everyone with respect
Networking is a hugely important element of being an entrepreneur or small business owner. In fact, it can be the deciding factor between failure and success. We all need support, and a strong professional network can provide this. It can be a resource for advice, encouragement, and opportunity. One thing I’ve learned is that you should treat everyone with respect, don’t just reserve it for people who you think might be useful. Not only can this come across as arrogant, or disingenuous, but it’s also ignorant. Every interaction is an opportunity to bolster your personal brand. And be consistent. If you’re only polite when there’s someone important there to observe you, people will realize this at some point.
Thanks to Stefan Campbell, The Small Business Blog!
#15- Use it as an opportunity to provide value
My best networking advice is to approach networking as an opportunity to provide value, rather than a chance to gain something. If you go into networking looking for a job or some other help from everyone that you meet, you will actually find that people are less likely to help you than if you offer to help them first. You bring the opportunity to connect people and help advance their goals. Leading with this shows people your value and makes them ask what they can do to help you, rather than seeing you as someone who is only talking to them to get their help.
Thanks to Tim Johnson, Health In Tech!
#16- Assist others
Successful networking hinges on fostering relationships and adding value for others rather than just gathering contact information or self-promotion. It's crucial to approach networking with authenticity and genuine curiosity about others. Consider how you can assist someone else rather than focusing solely on personal gain. This approach can lead to substantial connections and enduring partnerships. Keep in mind that networking involves give-and-take, so don't hesitate to seek help or advice while also being ready to provide your knowledge and support to others.
Thanks to David Zhang, Kate Backdrop!
#17- Approach networking events
In the realm of networking, it's crucial to prioritize the establishment of sincere relationships over merely accumulating contacts. Even though network gatherings may seem daunting, don't hesitate to initiate a dialogue or present yourself to a cohort. These environments are ripe with opportunities for growth and partnership. Approaching networking events with a precise objective, whether seeking potential clients or alliances, aids in fostering valuable connections that align with your business goals. Keep in mind that networking is a reciprocal activity; be sure to lend an ear, help out others, and offer valuable insights as well. The more you give, the more you get.
Thanks to Ricky Allen, Ever Wallpaper!
#18- Reaching out and interacting
Creating strong relationships in business is essential, not only to be surrounded by people on the same journey as you but also to leverage those connections in strategic collaborations that benefit everyone involved, it's an incredible growth strategy that I'd recommend for every business owner. My biggest tip would be to boldly reach out to people, if you're not attending in-person events, jumping into people's messages and saying hello, actively seeking these connections will get you further than resting on your laurels and hoping that someone reaches out to you. As a business owner, if there's something you want, it's YOUR responsibility to go after it.
Thanks to Taryn Wrezounik, Content Cure!