8 Useful Tips That Will Help You Grow Your Network

Growing your professional network should be a continuous process as it will always turn out very beneficial for your business. Meeting new people can open new doors for you and your professional endeavours, which is definitely the right course of action to take as a business person and entrepreneur. Of course, there are several different practices you can utilize in this regard, so keep in mind the following tips.

1. Stay in Touch with Your Existing Contacts

You probably already have some contacts and important people you’ve managed to meet. However, just because you have your small network doesn’t mean that it will prove valuable later on if you neglect to stay in touch. Actually, maintaining contact is a crucial point of growing but also strengthening your professional network. Of course, when you have the chance, don’t hesitate to catch up face-to-face, but it’s even more effective to stay in touch with your contacts via email and social media, thus making your presence noticeable. 

2. Attend Both Offline and Online Networking Events

The first place you want to look at in order to grow your professional network is a networking-specific event. Essentially, it’s not uncommon for different industries to organize conferences and trade shows, which present great networking opportunities. Also, don’t forget to check out potential online events on LinkedIn and Twitter. Even though these might not seem as grand and important as offline events, they can actually turn out a lot more beneficial and practical due to the possibility to host a bunch of people from all over the world and the ease of chatting. 

3. Hang Out at the Professional Hot Spots

As mentioned before, you can network effectively both online and offline. One great way to meet new and important people is to actually spend time and hang out at places they frequent as well. For online networking chances, these can be LinkedIn groups and Twitter chats. When it comes to offline hangout spots, you might want to look into the most popular restaurants and bars that the crowd you’d like to mingle with also frequents. 

4. Remember That You Should Also Give – Not Just Take

Just like in life, the true balance in a professional world and networking comes from give and take. In that respect, you can’t just expect everyone to do favours for you and introduce you to new people. You should also offer your own skills and expertise as a help if necessary. Moreover, don’t hesitate to be a connector between two or more people yourself. This will make you a lot more likeable, professional and a true team player, which are all highly valuable characteristics. 

5. Make Your Brand Known

As you go out there and try to make new connections in order to grow your professional network, you have to keep in mind the main reason behind it all – your business. You’re not introducing yourself for the purpose of making friends primarily; therefore, you want to make your brand known and heard. The right brand design such as brand logo and colours will make a big difference online. However, you can’t disregard the importance of offline networking in this case, either. In that respect, you should prepare printed goods that feature your brand image properly, so that you can give these out to other parties as well. 

6. Listen Well and Ask Often

It’s true that people naturally like talking about themselves more as they mainly have their own experiences and viewpoints to address in conversations. In that respect, it would do you a world of good to listen to the people you talk to really well. Not only will you get to know them, but you’ll find out more about their businesses and maybe even the opportunities they have for your skillset. Of course, you should always introduce yourself properly, too. That said, you should ask for introductions, meetings and feedback when possible. There’s no point in remaining silent and shy when you’re trying to grow your network. 

7. Your Goal Is a Long-Term Relationship

Once you meet a new professional contact and exchange business cards, you can be sure that you’re off to a good start. But that’s just it – a start. If you want to move further away from the beginning and actually form a beneficial two-way relationship with your contact, you have to put some effort into it. That said, make it a point to connect to the people you meet even after the actual meeting when you’ve got to know each other for the first time. 

8. Follow Up with Your Connections

You don’t have to rush and contact everyone on your new list of connections the moment you get home. But it would be wise to follow up with them, especially if you’ve received their business cards. That said, you can wait for tomorrow morning and then send an email or connect on social media to further establish your professional relationship with your networking group. 

Remember to always remain polite, calm and patient. Rushing into meetings and conversations with complete disregard for the other person, or letting your stress show won’t get you far. 

Sheri gill

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