7 tips for effective business networking: International Business and Trade Organisation IBTO
7 tips for effective business networking: International Business and Trade Organisation IBTO

Consider these seven tips on how to use your professional network effectively:

  1. Look for the right people
    Connect with professionals who can offer the specific help you need. For instance, if you’re interested in pursuing business opportunities in a new field, consider engaging with friends or former colleagues who work in that industry. If you’re seeking new social media strategies instead, you might attend a webinar hosted by an expert, then engage with their online profile afterward. To find the right networking activities, consider asking a workplace for recommendations or researching options online.

Related: 35 Networking Conversation Starters

  1. Be proactive
    Cultivating your network regularly is crucial to maintaining beneficial connections. If you joined a professional organization, for instance, it may be helpful to attend multiple events per year or stay updated on your fellow members’ activities. Even just sending a short email to a contact may indicate your interest in their professional lives, which can enhance your overall relationship. Consider checking in with your top contacts every week or spending time with them in a professional context.

Related: Networking for Introverts: 7 Tips for Making Better Connections

  1. Offer assistance
    Keep track of your contacts’ skill sets and business ventures so you can offer support, when appropriate. Becoming a resource for others can encourage your contacts to trust your expertise and view you as dependable. If you provide helpful assistance, your contacts may also be more likely to support your own activities. Be sure to respond promptly if a contact approaches you for advice. If you lack knowledge about a subject, you can direct them toward another contact or pose their question to a networking group.

Related: 12 Types of Networking Connections (Plus Tips for Making Them)

  1. Cultivate personal contacts online
    The internet is a valuable resource for creating, cultivating and communicating with your contacts. Use social media platforms to connect with professionals in your area, reconnect with old friends and start conversations with the people you meet while on the job. A friend or acquaintance might become a professional contact in the future, especially if you share mutual business interests and objectives. Sending a friend request or a brief message to a new contact may help them remember you and encourage them to seek out a mutual relationship.

Related: 7 Steps To Improve Your Networking With Social Media

  1. Attend company events
    If you work at a company, they might host regular events to encourage employees to socialize. Attending company mixers, corporate retreats or community events may help you meet a variety of key contacts, as you may see these individuals on a day-to-day basis. After bonding with colleagues, ask if they're interested in exchanging business cards or contact information. Be sure to stay aware of your company’s social calendar so you can prepare for events beforehand.

Related: 20 Ideas To Enhance Your Next Networking Event

  1. Follow up after events
    It’s often important to follow-up with any new contacts you find at an in-person or online event. This demonstrates your interest in their business ventures and an ability to hold yourself accountable. As a result, a contact may remember you for future opportunities or positions. They may also become more receptive to your advice or offer their own, which may enhance your business developments and strategies.

Related: 55 Subject Lines for Networking Emails

  1. Develop an elevator pitch
    An elevator pitch is a short introduction of your personal information and business interests. It allows you to communicate the purpose of your networking efforts quickly, which can help you form connections more efficiently. Consider writing three key points that can help others understand your perspective. It may be helpful to store your elevator speech in a document so you can update it in the future. Practicing your speech delivery in a mirror or a webcam may also help you speak more clearly and confidently.

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