The internet and social media have transformed the ways in which we do business today but some things never change. Relationship building is at the heart of networking and is more important than ever.
With Facebook, Linked In, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and other means of connecting, the face-to-face encounter serves a greater purpose. Networking necessitates interaction. Those interpersonal skills combined with emotional intelligence are often proven to be as important as having the perfect resume.
Networking is about creating relationships and not about selling. Put the needs of the other person first and try to figure out how you can help them through introductions to others, by sharing best practices or telling them about something relevant to their needs. Once you’ve made that personal connection, then follow up digitally using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or other social media platforms. This allows you to continue to reach out with links, articles or messages you think might be of interest to particular individuals or group connections. Don’t wait until you need something to connect, no one likes a fair weather friend.
As Maya Angelou so aptly said: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Quick tips for staying connected:
- Be yourself.
- Take quick notes on the back of business cards that will help you follow up later.
- Ask good questions when meeting people. The only way to get to know someone is by asking questions.
- If you see an article that might be of interest to someone, share it with them.
- Use LinkedIn to acknowledge work anniversaries or birthdays.
- Follow through after meeting someone by inviting them to join you on LinkedIn.
- Make sure your body reflects your genuine interest. Make eye contact, nod and smile in agreement when appropriate.