Building a great business network can be extremely helpful for your career. This is because the larger and the better quality that your network is, the greater the chances that one of your contacts will be able to offer you a job or help you in some way. In fact, some companies even prefer that their employees recommend people for new positions from their existing contacts.
Since having a great network is so important, here are five great tips for building yours!
1) Go to a networking event
Networking events are a great way to meet people for your network. This is because almost everyone at a networking event is there to meet people. This means that they are an ideal place to make introductions and come into contact with other like-minded people.
2) Go to a job fair
Although people at job fairs may be more focused on finding jobs or finding employees, they too can be excellent places to make contacts. If you are looking for a new job in addition to looking for new business contacts, then job fairs may be particularly helpful.
3) Use social networking sites
Social media sites such as LinkedIn.com, Twitter, and Networkingforprofessionals.com can all be very helpful when it comes to meeting business contacts. You can use these sites to reach out to people in your industry who you want to connect with, or even to people outside of your industry who you think will make good contacts.
Following key companies on Twitter is also a great way to get information about developments in your field. If you post on Twitter, then you can make connections through any followers you get as well.
4) Practice your people skills
Networking can involve a lot of direct conversation with people. So if you don’t know how to introduce yourself, how to meet new people, or how to market yourself, then these are all things to work on.
You can do this by practicing introducing yourself in the mirror, or even filming yourself having a mock conversation. You can then watch the film and try to improve things like eye contact, body language, tone, etc. Practice makes perfect!
5) Don’t forget to look in-office
Sometimes people who are looking to expand their networks forget to take advantage of the opportunities that exist within their own offices! Your own business office could be loaded with great contacts whom you are yet to meet. So strike up some conversations at the water cooler, in the hallway, at the copy machine, etc. There could be some great people to add to your contact list within a couple hundred feet of your desk!
You never know when someone whom you have met may help you in your career. The more contacts you have, the better the chances that a person will present a good opportunity to you!