Keen to expand your network? It’s great for business and even better for your mental health. According to the founder of Business Networking International (BNI) founder, Dr. Ivan Meisner, the basis of good networking lies in nurturing relationships. Cultivating long-term, fruitful business relationships is a must to gain traction in networking. Here are five cutting-edge networking strategies that will benefit your happiness and boost your business:
The problem with giving is always the same, you can only give what you have readily available. The trick to giving with generosity is to do it with a happy heart, which you can only do if you have enough. While corporate promotional products and gifts are always great (especially if you can sponsor events), it’s not always possible from a financial perspective. Find other ways to give of yourself, instead. That might mean less emphasis on physical items that cost money and more time, more business leads or referrals, or more time to listen and give advice. Find what you have that you can spare for others and give generously in that regard.
Staying in touch is important if you’re building a reliable network of people. Not only do you want to stay in touch and at the forefront of your network’s mind, but you also want to maintain a degree of warmth between you. A simple exchange is enough to keep the connection warm. Staying in touch also gives you insights into what’s happening with your network which makes it easier to offer your services and refer other members of your network to them. Remember, Dr. Ivan Meisner says networking requires a “giver’s gain” perspective. Give referrals to gain referrals.
Refine Your Rapport
What does your “vibe” say about you? A vibe refers to the non-verbal communication cues your body gives others. You may inadvertently push new people away if you are introverted while extroverts may exude too much energy. Have a non-self-criticizing self-evaluation to establish how you can work to come across friendlier, relaxed, and easy to talk to. One of the best ways to do this is to try and be positive, be the one who always finds a silver lining while you still remain sympathetic. Always bring a sense of joy into the room and people will associate your presence with feeling better.
Thick-skinned doesn’t only mean you can embrace criticism (gritting your teeth), despite that being the common misconception here. In fact, it means you go a bit deeper into yourself than that. You have to separate your self-worth from the things you do and say. You remain as valuable and as esteemed even when you make mistakes.
You can have flaws and still remain esteemed and talented. Now, you have the power to look at the critique that is delivered and decide for yourself how you want to go about improving on those points. When people feel they can be honest without causing conflict, they will trust you more and enjoy being around you more, which leads to better business networking.
The movie “Yes, Man” starring Jim Carrey might be a bit far out, but you can implement a “yes, man” attitude to a degree. The film sees the main character forcing himself to say “yes” to every invitation and every opportunity. Don’t go all in, but throwing some caution to the wind and stepping out of your comfort zone will do wonders for your networking efforts. Say yes when you would normally say no. Attend networking events and go out of your way to meet new people.