By Chi Chi Okezie
Networking is an excellent way to build relationships, build your brand and grow your networks. In order to be a good networker, it is important to have a plan, be committed and focused on connecting with people or organizations. A really good way to do this is by showing an interest in the things or people who you value and respect. There are many ways of interacting to create strong and meaningful bonds.
Listed below are practical methods for increasing your networking reach and influence.
One of the best ways to show interest and learn new things is to pay attention. This can include listening closely when other are talking, referring to details and being aware of your surroundings. It can also involve making connections and links to similarities or shared interests. Your heightened level of participation can also encourage others to take notice of you. Also, the information that you gather can be used as an effective follow up mechanism.
Besides listening, you can extend your non verbal communication skills to further connect with your counterparts at events. Making eye contact is always the best way of showing respect and building trust. Another good communication cue is being relaxed and not fidgeting. The less movement the better in regard to not being a distraction or being distracted. You can also exercise subtle gestures such as: leaning in, taking slow but deep breaths, smiling or keeping your hands at your waist side (rather than crossed).
Last but not least, responding to your counterpart is another effective way of demonstrating interest. Offer up questions or feedback in the dialogue. Make relevant comments to add value and show that you are listening and enjoy the conversation. Use this as an opportunity to share experiences, open up your networks and make significant connections, if applicable.
Use these helpful suggestions to garner trust and be relatable when you are networking. Being sincere and wanting to know and learn about or from others can be a great way to build quality relations.
Chi Chi Okezie is owner/producer of SIMPLEnetworking, LLC in Atlanta, GA. Learn tips, tactics and techniques from the Champion Networker! Visit the SN Official Website: http://www.snseminars.com to read excerpts of her books, sign up for her newsletter, register for events and classes or visit her blog!