How to Get the Most Out Your Networking Efforts in 5 Easy Steps

What’s the secret to opening doors in your career?

Hard work, a positive attitude, and drive can certainly open a lot of doors for you. But when it comes to opening certain doors, you need to know someone to help you wriggle them open.

Networking plays a big role in your ability to turn opportunities into success. If you’re wondering how to network effectively, here are 5 easy steps to follow.

1. Set Goals & Establish a Plan

It’s never too late to get out there and start dabbling your toes in networking. But after putting yourself out there, you’re going to want to start forming a plan.

What strengths, skills, and experiences do you have? Form your networking plan around your immediate and future goals. Knowing your goals will help you decide which crowds to target.

Setting SMART goals is one way to go about planning your networking efforts. What are SMART goals and how can they help you network? The concept involves identifying and determining if something is practical to work towards.

Start networking before you need to land the connections. Those who’ve been in the networking game for quite some time can tell when a person has an ulterior motive.

2. Be Authentic

If you’re wondering how to network effectively, it’s a lot simpler than it seems. It all boils down to being yourself.

You’ll find your best connections arise when you least expect them. One meaningful conversation is far better than passing out 30 of your business cards in a single go. When you attend an event or meet someone you could network with, focus on being in the moment.

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This is something many brands are doing with their social media goal setting efforts. It’s easy to look at social media and see it as a huge platform and task, but once you start to be authentic about what you want your brand and online identity to look like, this will all start to come together more nicely. And it all starts with a good social media marketing plan.

Have an idea of what you’re trying to achieve before attending an event or meeting. But don’t push your goals on others. If they’re relevant, talk about them.

3. Stay Connected

If you’re curious how to network for business, here’s another simple trick:

Make it easy for people to contact you.

Give out business cards. Have a notepad and pen ready to jot down your e-mail or phone number. When they contact you, don’t wait to call them back.

If you use Instagram for your business, give them your username so they can find you. Staying in touch by tagging each other in comments and Instagram stories is not only a fun way to network, but you both could end up collaborating on a social media project together someday.

Don’t let the relationship stay in cyberland. Follow up with them every couple of months. Invite them to lunch, to your workspace, or to an event.

4. Lend a Hand

How do you network when you feel like you barely have time for a social life as it is?

The next time someone reaches out to you, offer to help them. If they ask you to present, advertise, or to have a cup of coffee with them, make yourself available.

If it seems like they’re stuck, think about how you can be the one to help them figure it out. If you can’t help, who do you know who can?

You only grow professionally by helping others. Look at situations where you can help as opportunities to learn. You’ll not only gain knowledge and experience but a better rapport.

5. Persevere & Diversify

Sometimes it can feel like all your networking surmounts to superficial, fleeting connections. It’s important not to let yourself get discouraged.

Be on the constant lookout for events, meetings, and conferences that are out-of-the-ordinary. It could be the case that you’re not networking to the right crowds. You never know what kind of valuable experience you could get from trying something new.

Don’t give up. Eventually, your efforts will harvest genuine, productive connections.

Understanding How to Network Effectively

When you want to get through a particular door to reach your dreams, you might need a little help along the way. By following these 5 steps, you’ll be able to yield real success through networking.

Make 2019 the year you forge meaningful connections in all areas. If you’re wondering how to network effectively online, learn more about personal branding. The more of an online presence you have, the more connections you can build!