“Your network is your net worth.” – Porter Gale
There is nothing more powerful than networking, if you are looking for growth opportunities. You’ll find umpteen articles about it on the web, and dozens of books offline too. However, what often goes undetected is the sheer dislike some people have for networking. In fact, you’ll find that a lot of people dread it.
While the reasons for disliking networking could vary, the most common of them is that people aren’t really sure how to network. Sure, there’s a lot of material on the subject. But, the whole deal can seem pretty confusing for someone who is new to the game!
However, networking is very important, and avoiding it is not going to help. How about simplifying it a bit? Read on…
4 Tricks To Powerful And Successful Networking
First things first, pushing your visiting card into the hands of every person you meet is not the end-all and be-all of networking. You are not forcefully drilling for oil. Networking commences from the very first hello and preferably never ends. The intention is to build partnerships that generate value for you and the other person. Here’s how you go about it…
1. Choose Carefully
Be more selective about the people you wish to add to your network. The trick is to introduce yourself (yes, proactively) to a few, carefully chosen people. Choose five or six that seem interesting, go up to them, and begin a conversation. The number is significant because it gives you time to seed a meaningful connection. Give each person 20 to 25 minutes and then politely excuse yourself at the end.
2. Think ‘What’s In It For Them?’
Most people approach networking with the ‘what’s in it for me’ attitude. This fundamental flaw can throw a monkey wrench in your plans! When you focus on finding a solution for the other person (yes, without expecting anything in return), you cement a relationship. Be genuine. Listen to what the individual is saying, interestedly.
If the conversation is about a problem they are facing, share an insightful solution, or introduce them to someone who can help. When you assist others, the chances of them remembering you increase manifold.
3. Throw Self-Depreciation Out Of The Window
Networking means meeting a lot of people in a brief time. As a result, putting names to faces becomes hard five minutes down the line. The sure-fire way to make your mark on someone else is to be confident. No one recognises the person whose opening gambit was ‘sorry to bother you.’ They recall the person who says, with poise and assurance, ‘I can help you with that problem.’
4. Don’t Blow Your Own Trumpet
Know what puts off most people? Listening to someone talk about themselves endlessly. For efficient networking, you have to focus on getting to know the other person. Approach the field with a spirit of generosity. Give people a heartfelt compliment, even if it is small, and encourage them to open up.
What Makes Coworking Spaces ‘Havens’ For Networking?
Networking typically happens at events which include the usual song and dance — some small talk, some surface-level exchange, and finally the business card swap. Using the four tricks, we’ve mentioned above, removes the ‘forcedness’ of networking and offers an effective outcome.
There is one more arena that genuinely makes networking a pleasure and worthwhile – coworking spaces. Think about it. The inherent ‘openness’ of the spaces make networking an ‘everyday’ affair. Additionally, they also undertake several community-building initiatives to enhance interaction. You can use these opportunities to expand your network. Here’s how you do it…
1. Say Hi – Yes, It Is That Simple.
Unlike formal offices, sparking a conversation with a co-worker is encouraged in shared workplaces. Say a warm hi and then get to know the person. Don’t give your elevator pitch – engage in a candid conversation. If you are too shy to take the first step, ask the coworking space manager to make introductions.
2. Sit In The Lounge Section
A good coworking space comes outfitted with a common area or cafe. Hang around for a few hours every week. These sections are meant for rubbing shoulders and bumping elbows. Sooner or later, you will meet someone on the same page as you!
3. Offer A Trade
Let’s say, you find a person who offers to solve a problem for you. Instead of merely accepting their aid, offer a trade. For instance, a content writer can help a graphic designer with content, while the latter tweaks their website.
By swapping your service, you not only help a co-worker but also advertise your skills to others. How so? Odds are the graphic designer will tell at least one person about what you did, radically adding to your network.
4. Mark Your Attendance On Events
Coworking spaces organise luncheons, fun activities, and educational events. If you honestly want to build your network, attend these events. They are the quintessential place to talk about your product, service, or company without rubbing everyone up the wrong way.
5. Host An Event
Attending an event is good. Hosting an event is even better for networking. Ask the manager of the coworking space if you can host one. Use it to interact with every member of the community. If not all, then the majority will remember you when they need help.
When used right, coworking spaces can sway the path of networking. Done at the right time and in a respectful manner, builds a partnership that lasts for long. On the other hand, if you are overtly salesy, even the most supportive shared workplace remains unhelpful. So, strike a conversation but only when appropriate. Help others out of generosity, not just to convert them into a lead.
A few years back, a Forbes article mentioned that 97% of people prefer face to face meetings with a small group rather than a big one. The reason is obvious. Intimate settings are much more conducive to networking, which makes coworking areas the ideal place for it.
A smaller setting. Freedom for personal interaction. Varied groups of professionals. Coworking spaces indeed have the three fundamental ingredients that effective networking and permanent relationships demand.
If you are looking for coworking spaces in Mumbai that offer a healthy mix of collaborative and private spaces, get in touch with us at WorkWise!