Why Networking Is So Important
Networking is business 101. It is the act of forming business relationships where you can share ideas and seek potential partners for future business ventures.
If you’re not networking, then you’re missing out on a great tool for your business that could help you become more knowledgeable, gain new clients, and spread the word about your business.
Here are nine reasons why you should be networking for your business.
1. Increased business – This is the most obvious reason why people network in their business. When you get other business leads through networking, you can believe that they are going to be high-quality leads. These leads can be turned into clients.
2. Networking opens many doors – When you network, you are opening yourself up for opportunities that you wouldn’t have otherwise had. Partnerships, joint ventures, speaking engagements, increased sales, and client leads are some of the doors that will be opened to you.
Stick with the opportunities that align best with your business and its goals, though, otherwise, you’ll find yourself chasing rainbows instead and not really growing your business after all.
3. Business contacts – As they say in business: it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. When you connect with other people, you open yourself and your business up to so many different resources. Not only do you get the person or company you network with, but you also get all of the people that individual or company have created a network with.
Having multiple groups of people you can rely on in your time of need, is important to getting things done and getting them done right the first time.
4. Advisors – The people you network with are likely a wealth of knowledge. You can learn so much from your network if you take advantage of it. Make sure who you speak with understands you and your goals and is looking forward to helping you achieve them, without stepping on anyone’s head while doing it.
5. Becoming known – When you network and get your face and your name out there in the industry, you become a well-known household name. After attending some business meetings, you can begin to show yourself to be an expert in your field, thereby boosting your reputation.
6. Stay positive – You want to surround yourself with positive people. Having a network of like-minded, supportive, and positive people has a tendency to rub off on you. It can only help you grow and thrive as a business owner.
7. A confidence builder – If you’re always getting out there and networking, it will eventually build your confidence. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll become an old pro at networking. The more you do something, the better you get, so don’t give up on it.
8. Friendships – It might be surprising to see how quickly you can befriend someone who has so many business interests in common with you.
9. Helping others – Remember, you’re not the only one networking when you meet a new person. This means that you could be that expert on that one thing that no one else is, and you’ll take pride in knowing you helped grow your industry.
Networking is important for any business. What are your networking tips?
The Importance of Face-to-Face Networking
With the internet making the world a smaller place, it’s very easy to think that networking can be done through social media and social media alone.
However, even with the people, you meet on social media, you still need to find a way to have face-to-face meetings. Here’s why face-to-face networking is important.
1.) Immediate feedback – If all of your meetings are done through email or on social media, then you don’t get that immediate and direct feedback that you do when you’re face to face. You also can’t tell someone’s tone or demeanor if everything is done through typing. This makes it very easy to misconstrue someone’s intent or what they were saying.
If you are discussing something in person, then the exchange you have will go differently than it will online. There’s more give and take, so to speak. It’s just faster this way.
2.) A personal touch – Having those face-to-face meetings are always just going to be more personal and give you a better way to show who you really are. It’s hard to see what someone’s personality is when you can’t actually see them or hear them. If you want your personality to shine, then you need to have those face-to-face meetings.
3.) Builds stronger relationships – There needs to be a human connection. It just builds stronger relationships. You can think a person is great when you meet them online, but to actually see them in action and be a part of their energy is a whole other story.
You cannot build a strong relationship with someone if you’ve never spent physical space together. You get to see how they connect with other people as well when you meet with them in person.
4.) You can read people – There’s a way that we communicate in person that just cannot be expressed on the internet. You can read someone’s body language; you can pick up on sarcasm better when you can hear the tone of someone’s voice or see their face. You just learn so much about a person by seeing their mannerisms.
5.) Avoid misunderstandings – You might think you are being very clear when you communicate on the internet, but how someone else interprets it is a completely different thing. This is why things can get so heated on the internet. They can quickly escalate with a misunderstanding.
When you have face-to-face conversations, you have a better opportunity to explain your position to help people come to an agreement on things. You can specifically tailor your message to the audience of who you are speaking to instead of such a large group of people with wildly different points of view.
Using social media to the network is great too, but it’s still important to get out there and make personal connections. Whether it be at local business events or you find ways to link up with your online connections, it’s going to be very important to create face-to-face meetings to strengthen those connections.
Top Networking Apps for Business
There’s an app for that. Can you believe it? Yes, there’s an app for networking. Quite a few of them, actually.
If you’re having trouble networking in some of the more traditional ways, or really just want to hit up every possible opportunity, then you should check out some of these top networking apps for business.
These are not all iPhone apps either. Some of them are good for Android and/or Blackberry as well. So fear not; if you’ve got a smartphone there really is an app for that. Check out these top networking apps.
This is available on all operating systems. This app uses your location to detect where you are and connect you with the people in your area.
You can then group people together and text the entire group to let them know about an upcoming event that they might be interested in attending, or other great things happening in your business.
This is an iPhone app that will locate upcoming events in your area. Pick and choose however many of these events you’re interested in attending, and add them right to your calendar.
Have you ever tried to find a central location for you and your business associate to meet that was in the middle of your two locations, and come up empty? Well, the iPhone has an app for that.
With MeetMe you can put in your location and your business associate’s location, and it will generate a list of locations you can meet that are in the middle of the two of you. It will even give you and your business associate directions to your selected location.
Are you terrible with names? Not the best problem to have when you’re in business and trying to create a network. Well, with this iPhone app you can keep notes about the people you meet and their names at your fingertips at all times.
With this app, you can quickly write down a person’s name and a few important notes about him or her, to help you remember the person and who it was that you wanted to connect with again.
Conferences can become very crowded, busy, and intimidating places. How can you possibly meet all of the people that are going to be a fit for you and your network with thousands of people in one spot?
Well, that’s where Vivastream for iPhone comes in handy. With this app, you can join the Vivastream network with your LinkedIn profile, add some tags which adequately describe you, your expertise, and your interests, and then you can locate people who are attending the event with similar tags as yours.
Have you ever been to a conference and received so many business cards that you’ve wondered what to do with them all? How can you possibly get all of that information into your contact list? It’s going to take forever. Well, with CamCard for iPhone you just have to take a picture of the business card with your phone, and it will add all of the information to your phone book on your phone.
This is like a matchmaking service for business. Available for Android and iPhone, this app makes it easy to grow your network by vetting other shared contacts that match your needs. The app makes it easier to find the best connections that are right for you.
Hopefully these apps will help you make some really great networking connections.
Networking Tips If You Are Introverted
Being introverted and shy might seem like a bad combo for a business owner. However, studies have found that introverts actually make really good leaders. If you can get past your shyness to be able to network with people, then you’re really unstoppable in business.
If the thought of going to a conference or fundraising party has you wanting to curl up in a ball and hide in the corner instead, then try these tips for networking when you’re introverted.
1.) Reframe – If you’re getting ready to go to a large event and find yourself in a panic at the mere thought of it, then change your thinking. Focus on something smaller and not a large room of people.
Focus on your goals and what you would like to accomplish at the event instead. Don’t overstay either. It’s okay to duck out early once you have made your meaningful connections.
2.) Prepare yourself in advance – Know who’s going to be at the event and figure out who you’d like to connect with. You can email the person in advance and let them know that you’d like to connect with them and why. Do a little research on their interests as well, to give you some talking points when you do meet.
3.) Work the event – See if you can help plan or set up the event. This will help you to know who the key players are in advance. You can always be the one who picks up someone from the airport to bring to the event so you can have a little one-on-one face time in a less intimidating environment.
4.) Use your shyness as a strength – Introverts make really great listeners, and this is actually a really great way to get people interested in you. If you can muster up the courage to start off with an ice breaker question (like asking what someone thought of the speaker) and then just do what comes naturally to you and listen, then you have marked yourself as someone who can be counted on.
5.) Practice makes perfect – Part of what can make you nervous as an introvert is fear of the unknown. The more events you make a point to attend and practice your elevator speech, the better and easier it will get for you.
If you know that you have a really important event coming up, then try attending a few other events in advance of it to try out your talk with others first. In this way, you can get it down pat for the moment when it really matters.
6.) Wrap it up – You need to keep the goal in mind the whole while you’re talking with someone. As the conversation comes to a close, make sure that you get a plan in the books to meet again. Exchange business cards and jot some notes down on their card about what you discussed.
The next day, send a follow-up email thanking them for the conversation about x, y, and z and then firm up your plans for coffee and an opportunity to talk more. You’ll be “in like Flynn” as they say.
Ultimately, the introvert’s best friend is going to be a plan. Go in with a plan after doing plenty of research, and you’ll leave with the start of the expansion of your network.