Networking can be a difficult experience, so many variables that can determine how to go about your business. Time of day, the environment you are in, the people you are surrounded by, all of these play a factor in how to effectively market yourself. However, networking is an integral part of betting yourself, both as a person AND in business.
Before the tips come in, you must firstly shed whatever stereotype you have when the word networking is mentioned. All you can think about is suits, business cards, cheap drinks and awkward silences. Whilst you may not be far off with the last notion, I can tell you that the idea of networking can occur at any time, anywhere. At work, out on the town, at a sporting event, you may get the chance to market yourself to someone of some value who could help you later in the future. In a city such as Hong Kong, this is especially true. So how can you be a more effective networker? Simple.
1.Expand Your Comfort Zone
Stop being so convenient. Go out and meet people! Do not wait for the introductions, just jump in the deep end. The confidence you show may pay off one day! At work, you might have the chance to meet people in other departments and ask about what they do. Introduce yourself to people at industry events, workshops and luncheons. There is nothing wrong with knowing TOO many people. Obviously there is a large fear here for certain person, which leads us to our next point…
2. Develop Thick Skin
Rejection. No one really wants to deal with; some people spend their (potentially) miserable lives doing their best to avoid it! But, it is a part of life. Not everyone is going to respond positively to you because people have their own personal ideals that you may not meet. Don’t take that personally, let their rejection remind you to be more responsive to people who reach out to you. After all, you wouldn’t want to make people feel like that!
3. Remember, EVERY relationship matters
It may be tough trying to keep track of every person you meet, but if you do it correctly, it can pay off in the future. Think about it, hypothetically you meet 50 people in a week. How many of those people could move on and become a key decision maker in a company, or even run their own? How many can be potential customers, employees, employers, etc. You never know what the future holds for some people, but its best to be prepared!
4. Be Persistent
Always follow up. Like courting a potential loved one, you could be dealing with someone shy who is not willing to make the first move. If you sit around waiting, you may always be left wondering what could have been. Be proactive and it may pay dividends. What is the worst thing that could happen anyway, them saying no? You have thick skin remember!