With our guide you can take your networking skills to the next professional level. Learn how to get better at networking and what essential skills you need to develop to succeed.
Networking is essential for building any successful career, launching a business or creating a noticeable social project. It can save you lots of time on getting the right connections. It can give you access to information that’s otherwise not available to the general public. It can help you find funding for your project – and so much more. However, networking is commonly viewed only as meeting new people and getting to know them, which seems like common sense. Effective networking is a skill that should be mastered. Here we’ve put together top-10 networking skills to develop if you want your network to work for you. Let’s dive into the details!
List of effective networking skills
1. Communication skills
Networking is all about meeting new people, interacting with them and leaving them feeling richer than before they’ve met you. To bring value to the table, it’s important to see what your communication skills look like. While this is a broad term, communication skills include the way to speak with others, the way you resolve (or avoid) conflict, the way you respond to others. If you pay attention to developing your communication skills, you most probably will earn yourself a reputation of a valuable contact – and will have a great positive impact on your network.
2. Interpersonal skills
These can be commonly confused with communication skills, but it is important to know the difference between the two. While communication skills (based on the name) are mostly about the process of transferring information from one person to another in the most effective way, interpersonal skills are more about understanding other people. This is also a broad term that includes empathy (more on that later), emotional intelligence, ability to read non-veral language of other people, ability to express sincere interest in others. Developed interpersonal skills help to raise the level of trust between people, which means that you will be able to make lasting connections quicker.
3. Emotional intelligence
It is worthy to make this a separate point, because emotional intelligence has been quite the buzzword for the past five years. And, quite rightfully so. Emotional intelligence is the ability to “read”, and, most importantly, manage your own emotions and the emotions of people you are connecting with. Developed emotional intelligence helps you to deeper understand the motives of people’s actions and helps you navigate your relationships better. Definitely a valuable skill to develop.
4. Public speaking
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression” is a saying that is critical to remember while networking. In order to make a lasting connection, you need to become memorable to your new acquaintances. Public speaking is a way to do that, because in case you are able to give an emotional speech or inspire an audience, your presence will be noticeable.
Along with public speaking, humor will make you a pleasant and memorable person to talk to. Having the ability to loosen the tension with a joke, or start a conversation with a funny icebreaker will elevate your networking skills to the next level. However, humor is very personal, so it’s important to stay professional and not go over the top. In the end, this is networking, not stand-up comedy.
Confidence is key for networking because when meeting new people. Getting to know a stranger is always a bit stressful, and having confidence will help you make an impression, However, confidence is not to be mistaken with arrogance.
Focus is the ability of giving your new acquaintance your full and undivided attention. Prioritize the person you are talking to, and they will feel seen and heard. This is a good starting point for establishing a new connection.
As everything in business, networking has to be done with respect. You have to be genuine in your intention of meeting a new person, you have to respect their time and the trust they grant you – that will make a great foundation for setting up a mutually beneficial connection.
Positivity is a valuable trait in networking, because optimism is contagious. People generally want to be around proactive, open-minded and positive people, they want to be friends with them, they want to do business with them too. So, it’s definitely worth to have a positive attitude while networking.
10. Emailing skills
While the pandemic resulted in a boom of online communication, now a great share of networking is done remotely – via email or social media. So, your first outreach email or a direct message will be a virtual equivalent of coming up to a person live. Thus, it’s important to understand the tone of your email, because written communication doesn’t convey the nuances of personal interaction. And, of course, always check your spelling!
How to develop networking skills?
Okay, now we’ve named the most valuable skills for networking – but how to develop them?
There are some tips you can follow to upgrade your networking game in the long term.
Check yourself and practice communication skills
Practice makes perfect, we know that, but just networking more frequently won’t get you to progress unless you pay attention to what you would like to develop. So, next time when meeting someone new, make sure you pay attention to how you present yourself:
- Are you listening actively? Do you follow the conversation and ask questions or are you checking your phone?
- Is your body language appealing? Your body language can tell a lot about your intentions, so make sure you are aware of it.
- Are you genuinely interested in what the person has to say? Do you respect their time and boundaries?
If you keep networking while paying attention to these details, you will eventually get better at it.
Communication skills are a hot topic right now, because having developed soft skills makes you a valuable candidate on the job market, a desired employer or a desired partner for business. It’s always great to discuss how other people view communication skills within a community of like-minded people. Apps like Intch allow you to do that in a matter of minutes – no need to scroll through your Instagram, Twitter or Facebook for advice. Just post a request and an AI algorithm will get you five people who can share their expertise, and start networking.
Ask for active feedback
It’s difficult to view yourself from the outside, so it’s worthy to ask for feedback from the people you’ve communicated with. However, social networks are limited and they do not provide you with that opportunity af asking feedback quickly and privately. Unlike Intch – with a simple request you can get a fair and private opinion that will help you elevate your networking skills.
Attend events and practice!
Again, it takes practice to get better at anything – and networking is no exception to that rule. By attending events (online and offline), meeting new people, reaching out on social media and in person, you will get the valuable experience of making new contacts. In case you’re not comfortable with going on large events, you can always use online tools like Intch.
Intch allows you to post a request and get instant feedback from 5 other people with needed expertise. The app makes the connection – and then it’s up to you how you develop this new contact. It’s a great test for your networking skills – you can put it to use today!
Many people know that networking is key to building a successful career or starting a business. It seems to be natural and easy, yet not many people are truly successful at networking. Most probably, it happens because effective networking requires developed interpersonal and communication skills.
Paying attention to them and taking the time to develop these skills, asking for active feedback and getting lots of practice is key to success when it comes to effective networking. It will help to establish connections, and create long lasting partnerships.
Networking used to be spontaneous and sporadic, but now there are instruments that will help you grow your network in the comfort of your home. Such as Intch – an app where you can post a request or an ad with your expertise, and an AI algorithm will introduce you to five people who can help. And then – the magic of networking happens!