Meeting new people and forming connections is one of the most important aspects of the business world. Without these relationships, it will be much harder for companies to thrive – and for employees to find fresh opportunities and improve their skills.
This is why networking is something that everyone should practice – especially entrepreneurs and small business owners. Having this skill in your back pocket will come in handy all year round, from conferences to coffee shops and everywhere in between. Learning the tools to excel here will be a great way to boost a financial plan and set up a venture for long-term success.
With that in mind, here are three effective tips to become a better networker:
1. Do some research
Author Tyler Wagner, in an interview with Inc. magazine's Eric Holtzclaw, explained that one of the best ways to connect with new people is to do a little research beforehand. For instance, if you are planning on attending a conference, check out the credentials of the people who will be speaking. Therefore, you'll be able to open a conversation with something personal, and this can lead to a much better dialog and meaningful connection.
2. Let the other person do the talking
Getting a stranger to talk can be challenging, and this task is even harder for people who are shy or nervous about networking. In order to combat this issue, Wagner recommended asking open-ended questions. This way, the other person will do most of the talking. Find ways to be a great listener, and make sure that you are invested in what they are saying. It is best to be sincere and come across as fascinated by their profession and their resume.
3. Keep trying to network
Not every new relationship is a slam dunk. In fact, many times, you'll meet people just once and that will be that. However, Business Insider stressed the importance of being visible. Other people have to know who you are and what your small business does, or else it will be easier to forget you. So, the best way to do this is to keep networking. Never give up, and attend as many meetings as possible. Too many small business owners don't prioritize this element, and that can unfortunately lead to missed opportunities and a struggling financial plan.