Networking may seem like a mysterious activity to many, and yet anyone working as an entrepreneur or professional can agree that it helps to get opportunities and information one could not easily find otherwise. The biggest constraints people typically face before entering a networking event are the shyness of talking to new people and starting the conversation to get help from the newly acquainted person. These, however, are fully normal feelings and almost every person feels this way.
“The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.” Keith Ferrazzi
The key to understand what business networking is that it needs to lead to a mutually beneficial relationship with other entrepreneurs or professionals – or with clients or customers. Hence, networking is the whole process of creating connections with other business people, and it is successful when you have established a good relationship with the other person. Whether or not you consider yourself a social butterfly, it is often helpful to learn what other people are doing, what their problems are and how they fix them.
The first steps to take before entering a networking event is to:
- identify and specify who you are,
- what you are looking for,
- what you can offer to other people.
Doing your homework will help you be more effective when having a conversation with new people at the networking event. Also, to make the process of networking truly interactive learn more about other people by listening to them actively and think if you know something that could help them in return.