via Forbes : I find that people still struggle to understand how crucial networking is in 2017. I believe that in the contemporary business world, networking is more important than ever. I was shocked, and this is not a joke, when last year, an established business owner asked me whether “networking” is a computer system.
It’s a shame that people forfeit their networking opportunities. Networking has allowed me to build my marketing and public relations firm from a small startup to strong company.
I’m also very close with master networker Duvi Honig, CEO of the Parnasah Network. I watched him build the largest Jewish business network from the ground up by mastering the art of networking. As a result, countless businesses have been helped and many jobs have been created and filled. His networking led him to eventually be honored on Capitol Hill at a ceremony attended by seventeen U.S. Senators. It brought him in contact with billionaires, elite CEOs, White House officials, local officials and, of course, countless everyday entrepreneurs and professionals.
I asked Duvi to help me put together a list of the most important networking strategies. Here are the tips we came up with to help any individual succeed:
Appreciate The Value Of Networking
Before you go out to the field to network, make sure that you truly understand the value of networking. Your network is really your net worth. You can have multiple degrees and great talents, but if people don’t know you exist, they won’t get you very far. Put yourself out there to meet those who will bring out your maximum potential and make the right connections for you. The more quality relationships you have, the more you will succeed. It will also make you more valuable to others.
Focus On The Proper Networks, Not On The Weeds In Your Path
I have seen people networking without a clear focus of who they need to meet. They get lost wasting valuable time and don’t meet the right contacts. Be on the lookout for those who give you false promises or who are just looking to shake you off – and stop pursuing them. Never put all your eggs in one basket. Pursue multiple paths and work on determining which ones are most promising. Sometimes it’s the little guy who is less polished but is passionate to work with you who will be your best contact, while the elite CEO tells you the right things but ultimately won’t go the distance on your behalf.
Create A Plan Of Direction
Networking is like going into the woods. If you know your way, you reach the other side accomplished and successful. But if you don’t have a plan, you’ll get lost and can’t get out.
Don’t Be Shy To Ask Others To Make Introductions
If you need an introduction made, don’t be shy to ask someone who can make the connection for help. If you hold back you will never get anywhere. The worst that will happen is they will say no.
Prepare Your Elevator Pitch (Before You Get There!)
People have short attention spans. Be ready to tell your story in one sentence. Make sure to focus on the key points of who you are and what you do. People often go through the pleasantries and beat around the bush, sharing irrelevant information and experiences, and by the time they get to the “meat” of the conversation, the listener already tuned out.
Create A Conversational Environment
Ask open-ended questions that encourage others to answer. This shows your interest in the other person and what he or she does. Be sure to validate what they say and show that it’s not only about you.
Distribute Your Business Card
Be sure to always have enough business cards on you. It’s a plus if it has your photo on it. If you see that you are running low, go ahead and order more. It’s inexpensive and invaluable.
Don’t Expect Instant Gratification
Relationships take time to cultivate. Lack of immediate results does not equal failure. Unfortunately, today’s society teaches us to expect instant gratification and results. It’s easy to get discouraged when things don’t pan out on the spot. Remember fresh seeds take time to blossom.
Keep in touch, follow up and let the relationship develop. Don’t just sit and wait for that phone to ring. Be proactive and follow up. People are extremely forgetful, especially busy and successful business people who are constantly networking and meeting new people. A nice follow-up email, card or phone call will always leave its mark.
I hope that these strategies can open up new opportunities for you, and that you find continued success!