Networking is a daily part of life in business. It’s a crucial part of career development and running a business. However, business women tend to face a few additional challenges when it comes to networking. These challenges do not negate networking’s importance; if anything, they work to highlight the need.
The idea of diving into the world of networking can be intimidating. There are so many concerns about where to begin, how to approach, and so much more. Yet, there are some simple tips and tricks to help make the process more approachable.
Practice Makes Perfect
Everyone has heard of the elevator pitch – the classic quick pitch designed to grab attention – and hold it. Now, it’s time to turn that elevator pitch into something more personal. When networking, there’s nothing wrong with creating a quick introduction, one that explains you in the context of a network setting.
This pitch should include your professional identity while still being exciting and engaging. Taking the time to establish an angle beforehand – and practice it – will ensure that no vital details are left out.
Asking questions is an excellent way of forming a natural rapport. It’s also something that women, in particular, tend to excel in. Asking questions allows for an easy learning process while also generating room to grow comfortable with one another. Better yet, it shows your willingness to connect.
Build and Maintain Relationships
Networking is all about building, maintaining, leveraging, and altering relationships. It takes time, energy, and the willingness to try and make things work. The trick is building (and keeping) relationships that have value. Networking can be done in small doses – daily tasks such as signing up to work on new projects, finding or becoming a mentor, etc. Over time, these daily interactions can turn into something meaningful.
Keep the Ball Rolling
While it’s tempting to look at networking as a task that can be picked up and set aside at will, that isn’t entirely accurate. Networking requires maintenance. The human element within doesn’t allow for neglect.
Once a networking strategy has been established, it’s essential to keep it going. Maintain the relationships that have formed while continuing to work on new ones. This will allow for steady growth in your network.