Whether online or in real life, networking plays an important role in our lives. It helps us feel like we belong in our neighborhood, opens doors for career opportunities, and generally helps us be better people as we learn from others.
Network Without Being Obnoxious
We all hate it when someone reaches out after a long time and immediately lobs a pitch. So, how do you avoid being that self-serving person who only sees others as a way to advance themselves?
On social media, brands often stick to a 25-75% rule. When posting content on their platforms, 25% will be their own, while 75% will be from other, related sources. For example, a jewelry brand might share seven posts per week on Facebook. Only two of those posts will be to promote or highlight their jewelry products, while the other five might be tips on how to clean jewelry, outfit inspiration posts, or interactive polls for followers to take. They might create some of this content themselves, or reshare from other brands in their niche.
How does this translate to real life? Try being a hype person for someone else in your industry. Talk up current coworkers or potential new hires who you think are, or could be, an asset to your company. Being able to promote others rather than oneself shows you’re a team player, and that you can appreciate the skills of others. You portray yourself as a good judge of character, and a valuable resource.
There are times it will be appropriate to advocate for yourself and put yourself out there as a candidate for a position; if you haven’t spent your entire career talking about how great you are, others will be more apt to listen when you do.
Ask Questions - And Remember to Listen
Get others talking about themselves and you’ll be a favorite in no time. Get to know other people in your field, and learn about them and how they operate. When you can ask questions and show that you’re actually listening, people feel valued. They leave with a good feeling as a result of your conversation, and not like they were just being used to network.
Besides connecting with others in your industry and helping you develop beneficial working relationships, being inquisitive about your so-called competition can actually lead to greater connections. You’re part of a community, and your rapport can lead to referrals in the event someone sees you as a better fit for a potential client.
Nouri helps you build meaningful relationships by giving you a place to log notes about the connections in your network. You’ll never forget pertinent information again!
Be Early and Prepared
If you’ve invited a client or a college to an in-person meeting, be early. Prepare the space so it’s inviting and conducive to the task at hand. This will help you avoid any technical difficulties if there’s equipment you need to use, and help you feel better prepared for your meeting.
For video calls, don’t always delay signing on; getting into a virtual meeting room early can give you a few moments of general conversation with colleagues and supervisors. This gives you a chance to stand out not just for your professional contributions, but for your personality as well. How often are video calls all business, with everyone signing off immediately after the agenda has been covered? While it can be convenient, it can lead to feelings of disconnect between co-workers.
Trends come and go in all industries; are you staying current? In order to remain relevant in your workspace, it’s important to stay informed of what’s trending. This is another reason it’s great to develop relationships with colleagues in the same field. Not only can it lead to referrals, but as you talk shop you can share up-and-coming trends.
You may need to seek continuing education classes or workshops to help you stay relevant, or see if they’re offered by your company. Prove that you’re willing to evolve as an employee, and remain an asset in what can sometimes feel like an ever-evolving workforce.
Be Consistent and Present
Consistency can be a big part of networking. If you’re involved in online networking groups, ensure you’re regularly contributing to the conversation. Attend conventions for professionals in your field to grow your network. Even sending regular emails to check in with colleagues or clients can show your genuine interest in relationships.
Networking in the age of the digital workspace can feel less personal, but there are ways to maintain authenticity. Be clear about your objective when you reach out to others, and use a platform like Nouri that can help you manage your contacts and schedule phone calls or meetups.