What is networking in business? How to make useful contacts in real life and via social media?

Hello in this article, we will talk about what is networking in business it’s benefits importance and how it works.

Networking in business is one of the newfangled terms that are used in the West. Now it’s been migrated to India although the phenomenon itself has long been a part of our culture. Let’s understand what networking in India is, how to gather the right people around you and what networking can give you in real life. In this article we will talk about networking mainly for business.

Networking

What is networking in simple words?

Networking is another phenomenon that has come from the West. It involves the creation of a circle of professionals around you, united by something in common. It can be aspirations, attitudes, professional qualities or an industry.

Networking

Networking is building a network of business connections. 
Building relationships with people in which you can always seek advice, promote your product in a circle of acquaintances, get contacts of a valuable specialist, etc.

In India, networking is understood a little differently. When you come up to a person at a conference, exchange a few words and leave a business card – this is not networking. When you just talk in a nutshell about where you work, this is also not the case. Real networking involves a discussion with a person for quite some time. It involves finding out what he does, talking about what you do, and, if necessary, exchanging advice from personal experiences.

Networking is more characteristic of the business community or some professional circles. When communities with similar interests and aspirations are created, they get to know each other, share experiences, help newcomers, and sometimes solve issues together.

Real networking is more about lifestyle. 
This means that you will surround yourself with people who will pull you up, help solve professional problems and share your own experience.

Networking is useful for anyone who wants to grow professionally in any field. The right environment gives motivation, someone else’s experience and tips greatly shorten the path to the top, and helping your good friends can bring additional dividends in the future.

Why does it work each time?

When I first heard about networking, I asked myself – “Why does it work at all?” Why are business connections so effective that they allow people to succeed much faster than when they were alone? The answer is simple: the right environment can drag people up.

Psychologists of the last century put a lot of experiments from the category: do surrounding people influence what you will be in the future. The answers were unequivocal: the environment has a great influence, approximately equal to personal qualities. So, with the right selection of your environment, you can compensate for some of your shortcomings and achieve success.

You don’t have to go far for examples. Most successful young billionaires come from wealthy families. Where they were accustomed from childhood to the competent handling of money, the right acquaintances, etc. That is, they were originally in an environment where successful people achieved good results. And they are less likely to be a loser.

There is a theory that helps to understand the power of networking: The Theory of 6 Handshakes.

The conclusion that follows from this theory is: We can always find common ground with almost any person. This may be a common language, common acquaintances, common interests with everyone we meet. 

Types of Networking

Some experts in the field of business communication distinguish 3 types of networking:

  • Positive.
  • Negative.
  • The Golden Mean

Positive networking is aimed at acquiring new acquaintances solely in order to be useful. This is an option for those who want to give more than receive. The method is suitable for professionals in their field who can communicate with people below the social ladder, help and support them in every way.

Typically, such people gather around themselves the “weaker” people who are now less successful than them. For what? To help, support, and in the future, it is possible to get some kind of result from this.

Negative networking is aimed solely at acquiring the benefits of new acquaintances. When communicating with a person, you simply evaluate him on a utility-scale and decide whether you need this specialist in the future or not. Then you decide if you want to make acquaintance with him or just pass by.

This is reminiscent of manipulation, but the point here is a little different. You build initially “market relations” with your friends. If they help you, they are useful, which means they have the right to count on your help. With this approach, they usually gather a stronger environment around them so that it pulls up.

The golden mean is a combination of two approaches. When you try to be useful, but also benefit from it. The first direction prevails over the second.

It should be understood that each type of networking is needed for a particular situation, for a particular environment. At the same time, it will not always turn out to hit the extreme. You will not always be able to help and will not need advice, just as you will not always be constantly helped, without asking for anything in return. 

Basic Networking Rules

In 2016, Gil Petersil, one of the main people in networking in Russia and the CIS countries, spoke at the Russian Sponsorship Forum. He talked about the principles of proper dating. 2 years have passed since his speech, but the basic rules that he voiced are still relevant.

1. How can I be useful to a particular person? 

When you first meet a person, you must ask yourself: “How can I be useful to this person?” Can I suggest something, help him, give some advice, or advise a good specialist who can solve his problem? If there is such a benefit, then you can effectively collaborate with a person.

It is not necessary to always help unilaterally. Robert Cialdini in his Psychology of Influence said that any service provided to us triggers the mechanism of “response action”. That is, we feel obligated, which means we will do something, even beyond what we helped.

2. Enthusiasm and emotions are very important. 

The emotions with which we talk about ourselves and our work are very important in the first contact with a person. You do not know each other, which means that you draw conclusions based on what you see in front of you. How a man is dressed, what he says and, more importantly, how he says it.

Would you communicate and start a business acquaintance with someone who is not good at his work? Or someone who doesn’t seem passionate?  Everyone who achieves success in his field loves his work. Try to charge your interlocutors with energy.

The success of the first contact is 7% provided by words, 38% tone of voice and 55% emotions and non-verbal methods of communication (gestures, posture, facial expressions). These figures are conditional, but they show the real impact of our words, emotions and postures on the interlocutor. Take care of non-verbal communication methods and express emotions.

3. It is not necessary to talk for a long time at the first meeting. 

Gil during the speech insisted that the first acquaintance should not be long. No need to talk with a stranger for several hours, try to discuss with him all the problems and prospects. It is enough to introduce oneself, to exchange a couple of phrases, to leave contacts, and that’s all.

His thought boiled down to the fact that you should fleetingly talk with many people. Exchange greetings, light jokes, contacts and only then go to the next stage of communication in a different setting.

4. Business cards should always be handy! 

Now many of you will think that business cards are the last century. In the era of social networks, leaving your contacts is quite simple. But for reliability, it’s better to keep several business cards handy.

In times when everyone just connects through social platforms and QR codes. A business card could also portray an altogether different message. Business cards do work like magic.

5. You do not sell. 

The main goal of networking is to make new friends. Initially, there is no purpose to conclude some kind of contract or sell something. On the contrary, you should in every possible way avoid similar topics at the first acquaintance.

People who try to sell you something at the first meeting resemble very annoying sales agents. There is no trust in them, they are uninteresting, and even if their goods are really worth it, it is lost for their perseverance.

Whenever you meet a new person, do it out of interest, and not to sale something. Even if you plan to make profitable acquaintances.

6. It is necessary to introduce people to each other. 

As Indians, we don’t really care about introducing people. This is fundamentally wrong. Avoid situations where the person next to you simply does not know where to put yourself while you are talking with someone. Introduce people to each other, talk about your friends and encourage them to communicate.

7. Practice introducing yourself. 

Gil talked very cool about how people represent themselves. Usually, these are 1-2 words, something like “I am a manager”, “I am a businessman”, “I am an accountant”, etc. This is the wrong approach. You need to briefly but emotionally talk about what you do.

Instead of “I am a manager” we can say “I help build business relations in a company” or something like that.

Gil advises practicing and coming up with 5 different options for introducing himself. Prepare such templates and practice telling them. He advises telling this to your pet, but it seems to me that even a mirror will do. At the same time, you will work out gestures.

8. You need to ask complex questions. 

If you constantly ask your interlocutor monosyllabic questions that can only be answered with “yes” and “no”, then the dialogue is built up initially clamped. Try to ask something, be actively interested in the work, beliefs, goals of a person, so that he tells about them in detail. Unless, of course, he is interested.

The same goes for the answers to the questions. It is not necessary to answer monosyllabic questions of the interlocutor. If you see that he is interested, instead of the usual “Yes”, you can answer “Yes, that’s why …” and start a normal conversation.

But you need to keep a balance. You do not need to be the one who speaks the most, and those who speak the least.

9. Set priorities for yourself. 

Before you start to meet new people, it’s worthwhile to determine the priority areas for yourself. That is to say… You could be interested in people from a certain field or occupying a certain position. Based on this, get acquainted and build further relationships.

Say for instance…

You are a website developer and have come to a business conference. You need to talk with business owners who can become your potential customers. Look for people from the industry in which you understand, tell them about your work, and in the future, they may be useful to you.

10. At least one of your arms should be free. 

This is a kind of “rule of good form.” If you want to chat calmly with a person, you should have at least one hand always free. If you have a cup of coffee in one hand and a portfolio of papers in the other, then the probability of a conversation with a person is reduced.

In addition, as I said above, more than half of the success is played by gestures. With busy hands, it is very difficult to convey your intent in a way that is effective and impressive.

Also read: 11 profitable business ideas with minimal investment in 2020

11. Bring it all to the end. 

There will be no sense if you just get to know people, take a few business cards, exchange contacts on social networks and forget about it safely. You will gradually accumulate contacts in your phone book, in notes, but this will not be of any use.

For networking to be effective, you need to talk more with people you recently met. Never dine alone – this principle is ideal for this situation. You can always invite a person to dinner, talk with him about work issues, discuss something personal, etc.

These rules seem simple, but many forget about them. We, by nature, are more closed and shy people, so networking is more difficult for us. The next time you go to some meeting with new people, try to apply these simple rules and see how your social circle changes, literally in one evening.

Networking in Real Life: How to make acquaintances?

Business acquaintances are made mainly at offline conferences and events on business topics. These are large-scale meetings where famous experts from various fields are invited, and they from the stage talk about their knowledge and developments in a certain niche.

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Such an environment is good because you are in a circle of like-minded people. Those people who are also interested in business, finance and are interested in personal success.

They come to such conferences mainly for new acquaintances. The topic itself, speakers and event are already secondary. Therefore, in such an environment, meeting new people, telling them about yourself is much easier. This can be done in literally 3 steps:

  1. Assessment of peopleYou just look who you like, interesting, attractive, with whom it would be interesting to talk, in your opinion.
  2. The first dialogue. Acquaintance with a person usually takes place at ease. At such meetings, you can go up to anyone and start talking to him. They will answer you, sincerely and with interest! Asking is fun.
  3. Long-term cooperation. After you met and exchanged a few words, you can leave each other contacts and move on to other people. Then contact this person, have lunch, talk on some topic.

Focus on the benefit of another person to gain their trust. But just don’t overdo it.

Some events have a very cool thing: networking games. Usually, these are board games that need to be played by an average company (3-6 people). People during the game recognize each other, get emotions and enjoy the pleasant atmosphere.

Social Networking

Social networks are primarily a tool for communication. But networking is pure communication. This means that you can freely use social networks in order to make useful contacts in interesting areas and professional circles. Social networks can be used in two cases:

  • To give contacts to real people. As an alternative to business cards.
  • To purposefully search for people.
cpntact

Let’s talk about the second option. For people to be interested in you, the first thing to do is to properly execute your profile. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Fill out the information about yourself as much as possible. What do you do, what do you work, where did you study.
  2. Attach a message that details your work.
  3. Take some quality photos. Preferably in a business style and street.
  4. Join a business public. Not in “quotes from great businessmen,” but better in community leaders in your niche.
  5. Add a couple of useful videos about your profession or hobbies. Just not funny videos with cats.
  6. Clean the wall. Jokes look out of place.

That, in general, is all. If you follow these simple points, you can easily turn your profile into the cover of a successful person. This is what we need.

Social networks can be used as an appointment tool. As well as with sales of goods of a high price category (from 100-200 thousand rubles). The purpose of your conversation: to find out a person, not to sell anything, bring to dialogue in real life, and that’s all. A business meeting in a cafe is the best option.

If people live in another city, everything here is a little more complicated. You need to look for common ground, discuss business issues and try to help a person. Acquaintance should begin with the standard “how can I be useful.”

Everyone who is trying to sell something on social networks through private messages is likely to be disappointed. Most people simply perceive such offers as spam. Even despite the quality of the product, its attractive price and real benefits. Many have already developed the habit of adding people who want to sell something to the blacklist.

Brief conclusion:

  • Fill out the profile as much as possible.
  • Do not try to sell your services directly.
  • Invite people to face-to-face meetings, if possible.

IT networking

IT-sphere has its own characteristics and distinctive features in networking. Let’s dwell on them in detail. There are 3 main differences:

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  • The IT community is as friendly as possible. They always help everyone. Even a green newcomer who asks a question is much less likely to encounter a negative than in any other field. Because of this, lining up is very easy.
  • The IT community is as open as possible. He has no division into “closed parties” and any groups of professionals. Most issues can be discussed publicly, and almost anyone can enter a party.
  • Reputation is everything. In the IT community, reputation is valued even higher than practical skills. And because of the openness, almost any jambs float out. That is why you should always take care not to do something inappropriate, otherwise, everyone will know about it.

One big conclusion can be drawn from these differences:

IT is an open and transparent sphere where everyone strives to establish good relations, to form connections and useful contacts around themselves. And every spot on the reputation is laundered for a very long time.

Otherwise, everything is the same as everywhere else. Business acquaintances are acquired mainly at conferences or in thematic communities. Help you – help you. 

Useful Networking Materials

Let me know if you have any ideas to build and grow a business network easily and effectively.

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