Striking a rapport and building personal connections with people is incredibly important when it comes to developing good working relationships. In the modern world, these interactions don’t have to be face-to-face, either – a telephone call or Skype conversation can be just as important, particularly if you’re liaising with overseas colleagues or clients while chasing international expansion.
With that in mind, here are 5 ways you can improve your networking skills in 2019:
Understand your target audience
When you set up a UK company, you should have a good idea about your target audience. Networking works in much the same way. Learn about the communities you’re meeting with through online research or simply asking questions.
Don’t be afraid to work the room
If you’re taking part in a networking event, take the opportunity to mingle. Try to develop more than one greeting, and push yourself to interact with as many people as possible. Encourage conversation, and engage with others in a warm and friendly manner.
Find some common ground
Be inclusive and try to understand how making connections can be mutually beneficial for all involved parties. Finding common ground and synergy can work wonders – even with competing businesses.
Always follow up
After making a connection with a potential client, remember to follow up on the initial conversation. Arrange a working lunch or coffee, get in touch via the phone or simply send an email highlighting your commitment to creating a beneficial working relationship. Remember, all relationships take commitment and effort – some work, some don’t, but you’ll never know until you take the initiative to follow up on your initial meeting.
Ask how you can help
In retail, this is a concept as old as time – but it can be applied to networking, too. Don’t wade in with both feet first giving it the hard sell. Instead, enquire as to how you can help serve the needs of your potential clients. When people get the impression that you’re offering your services with the right motives and for the right reasons, it becomes easier for a relationship to grow naturally.
With a bit of practice, networking will begin to feel like a natural extension of every working interaction you have. Don’t be apprehensive; you’ve got nothing to lose, and the next attempt at networking could yield a great deal or contract.
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