It’s a new year, which means networking season is now on our doorstep. So I have pulled together a list of key qualities that well-connected people possess.
Networking season runs from February-April and is a term that describes the time of year when people are more open to building relationships and attending industry events. It’s also the easiest time of year to connect, as many people are in the same boat: building momentum, attending events and learning about what to expect in the coming year.
Now that you know the time is right, the number one thing you need to remember in relation to networking is people who take the time to build relationships are the ones who are considered for new opportunities over and over.
Good business networking skills are vital for anyone looking to build their influence, raise their profile or have more successful projects.
Here are the top traits of well-connected people I have observed over the years:
- Follow up after meeting someone – This may be connecting on LinkedIn, sending a short email or even a handwritten note to express how much you enjoyed the conversation and appreciated their time.
- Have a positive attitude – Misery does not love company. Positive attitudes are magnetic and infectious.
- Ask questions – Contribute ideas and information, but be mindful of not dominating the conversation or playing 20 questions.
- Build trust – We all like to think we’re trustworthy, but trust must be built. A good place to start is to avoid name-dropping or sharing company information. Think about the strong, silent types who seek knowledge and ask informed questions — this garners trust and respect.
- Have good listening skills – It’s important to actively listen to what other people say and show an interest in them. I have met and worked with business leaders and politicians who have this skill in spades. It makes the people around them feel special and in turn draws more people to them.
- Thank people – Thanking people for their time and advice is really important. It shows you value them and good networks are built on value creation.
- Help others – I think we underestimate how much people like to help others. Finding links, sharing stories, connections and advice are tremendously powerful. Be careful with your contacts, but help others where you can. Just make sure you follow up on your promises.
- Be aware of body language – Good networkers are very aware of body language, they can read people and read a room. They work out where they need to be to meet people and how best to connect with them, and they never stand too close.
- Remember names – This can be really tough and very few people perfect it, but it makes a huge difference and is something to work hard at.
Remember, networking is not speed dating. Great networkers don’t hand out their business card at random and are respectful of the people they meet. They don’t try to meet an entire room, as they see value in deep relationships and know that meeting two or three really interesting people is a good outcome from attending an event.
Can you see a trend with all these points? They all tie into long-term relationship building, not stalking prey for the big kill – there is nothing worse and people can pick it a mile away.
It’s critical to build mutually beneficial business relationships if you are to succeed in building a deep and rich network.
Happy networking season!