For a professional life to thrive, an established network is critical. This is especially true these days because instead of a linear progression, careers are rising on jagged paths.
A stable network of people brings in a whole slew of benefits ranging from the exchange of resources to gaining knowledge. These advantages help take your professional life to the next level at some point.
It is why we’ve spoken about the kind of people you must have in your network and how coworking helps foster those relationships. We’ve even touched upon the variety of individuals you will encounter at a shared workplace. What lacked then were tips on how to network, and that’s the ball we start rolling here.
How to Network Easily and Effectively?
Even the best of us find meeting new people awkward and full of stumbling steps. Keep these tricks up your sleeve, and networking will become effortless and smooth.
1. Think of it as catalyzing, not networking
The biggest hurdle to networking is the jittery feeling of making small talks. By thinking of it as catalyzing and not networking, you can overcome the obstacle. The focus has to be on what others need, not what you want. Become a platform where people who can help each other can connect, and your network will grow automatically.
2. Learn to remember a name and a face
The one thing that makes an impression on individuals is remembering their names. So, find ways to learn names and, of course, face. Use word games, mnemonics, or even physical attributes to connect a name to a person.
3. Network with everyone, literally
Ask networking pros about the people they don’t connect with and the answer will be none. Every person holds something valuable in his palms, so don’t exclude anyone from your circle.
4. Be excited about it, not bored
Don’t look at networking as a tiresome task that has to be performed. Always approach it with an enthusiastic attitude. Think about it. Do you remember any blah, dull person you might have met in the past or a happy, animated one?
5. Stay in touch, with old and new
A reliable network is built on the foundation of communication. After you meet a person and forge the first link, stay in touch with them. A quick hello once every few months is sufficient. This rule applies to old colleagues, neighbors, and acquaintances, too.
6. Use social media to your benefit
With the busy lives we lead, staying in contact, especially with people we have just met, is hard. Use social media to your advantage. Like, comment or share their posts. Show that you are invested in strengthening the relationship.
Moreover, use online networking sites to connect with people in and outside your industry. Trust us; it is an outstanding trick to expanding your circle.
7. Help others in your network
The most straightforward trade secret to networking is generosity. If you want to build a strong network, offer help. Take a genuine interest in what others are doing. If they need it, then extend your assistance. If it is beyond your expertise, then offer to connect them with your contact who can help them.
8. Have a business card handy, always
Even in this day and age of all-things-digital, the one thing that will save you continually is your business card. Keep one at hand always. It doesn’t matter if you are going to a new eatery for the night or coworking space for the day, have your business card handy so that you can share it with people any time.
A New-Age Concept to Networking: Coworking
You can use the aforementioned eight tricks to network like a pro, but nothing nurtures interaction better than a place that houses like-minded individuals.
We’re talking about coworking spaces. They are a unique breeding ground for networks because they present novel opportunities to meet people from diverse backgrounds and varying career phases.
In simpler terms, the modern way of networking is working out of a shared workplace. If you’re still not convinced, here are two more reasons how coworking spaces can generate opportunities to help expand your network:
9. Attending events
Shared workplaces continuously host events that are the quintessential setting for broadening one’s horizons. From luncheons to product launches, from Friday-night happy-hours to skills training, attend any event coworking spaces host, and you’ll come away with one new connection at the bare minimum.
10. Ask the community manager
Sometimes we are just too shy to go up to someone unfamiliar and introduce ourselves. Coworking spaces have an answer to this conundrum – community managers. If you’re stumped on what to say to a person, ask the community manager to ease the first conversation.
The opportunities shared workplaces offer for networking are not limited to the members of the community. Each co-worker has the potential to connect you to N number of people working outside the boundaries of the coworking space.
Every Interaction is a Means to Network
Even though humans are social creatures, most of us dread the idea of networking. There is a valid reason for it. No one wants to be at the receiving end of a sharky introduction or a hard sell poorly disguised as polite conversation.
The very prospect puts us off from networking. Yet, connecting with new people can be fun even for an introvert who eschews gabfests. All it takes is a few tweaks to how you approach people and where you approach them.
Think of every interaction as a chance to diversify your network and use the tips given above to help you communicate better. In today’s competitive environment, having a reliable and moored network is the smartest step you can take in your profession.
Imagine the day you want to change your career or take it to the next level. Who is going to facilitate that growth or transformation? It is your network. So, go forth and knit one. Better yet, choose a coworking space and let the network come to you!