Our lives pretty much depend on building relationships. People only want to do business with persons they like. But why networking is important, and how to start networking? And what makes you like someone else?
Why networking is important
The term networking is often seen in the modern business world. So what is networking? It simply describes how we build new relationships to liking and getting someone to like you.
Networking benefits both your individual or organizational success. You can get access to people all over the earth with skills and knowledge that complete your own. To get advantages of an interconnected world, Anyone can develop a network identity. It will also help you to gain more success in an ever-changing environment.
Remember, networking is not about archiving particular results; it is about wanting to connect with others. Some people even react negatively when they hear the word networking because they think it is a test they need to take to win a person over.
However, it isn’t about testing when you get to know someone. What really matters to make yourself likable is by being honest and authentic.
Look for common friends, interests, and backgrounds, or shared experiences and beliefs will help to connect with other people. Often a person trusts sources they know,” when a friend likes him, I may like him too. “People listen to recommendations for a job if a colleague knows or worked with the person before. Networking is about making new connections, and having good conversations and finding a similar interest that makes you likable will help you in any situation.
Starting with networking
To be a good networker, you have to be proactive, and you need to go to conferences and join groups of like-minded people to find new connections that could help you and the company you work for.
If you want to be a strategic networker, you have to be ready to take the chances to make potential new contacts. Think beforehand how you would describe your job and the kind of connections you want to build. If you get asked for what your work answers with a skill, you want people to remember about you and backup it with an example. This is way better as when you only say your job title.
Everyone’s network can be parted into four nets:
- WorkNet includes your co-workers and everyone you work with daily.
- OrgNet contains employees in other divisions and departments from your business.
- ProNet involves professional contacts outside your workplace, like former clients and co-workers.
- LifeNet is your family, friends, and persons you often spent within your free time.
Ask yourself how solid your connections are in each of these different networks. It will help if you develop strong relationships with all types of people in your nets. Show that you are a trustworthy person by being honest, open, and loyal. Remember, trust takes time on average; it can take six to eight conversations to build trust with a new connection.
It will also help if you demonstrate that you are actually good at what you do. This can be done by telling you past successes and the skills you have, which benefit your job.
You can also use the 5-S story formula to create a memorable story that both demonstrates your key qualities and competencies to new contacts.
- Start by signaling you have something to say: “This thing happened to.”
- Now describe the situation. “I needed to go to a conference in Berlin with my CEO.”
- Next, introduce the problem you had to solve. “Unfortunately the night before the conference my boss told me that someone in his family was taken to a hospital. So he needed to fly back to Munich, but the problem was the 300 people still expected a presentation from our research the next day.
- Then present the solution you provided: “What I suggested is that I do the presentation myself even if it terrified me. My boss agreed, so I needed to spend the night practicing.”
- And finally, explain highlight what significant impacts these experiences hand on you other and your company. “Luckily, the presentations went really well, and my boss also was very impressed.”
Make sure to learn people’s names and ensure they remember yours as well. Be confident whey you join new groups what helps if you think the group isn’t complete without me.
When you end a conversation you introduce the new person to other colleagues. In return, you ask if she can introduce you to someone in your field.
How to network and connect?
Find out what is likable about other people by asking questions about a persons life, opinions, belief, job, or hobbies. Pay close attention to what a new contact reveals about her character and competencies. Nevertheless, that focus should be on building a relationship. Everyone is different, but some basic principles of likeability are the same.
People have various sets of attitudes beliefs goals and but generally, the same for everyone is authenticity. So what makes you being true to yourself and how to know if you are authentic or not?
Usually, authenticity is so natural that you most likely don’t notice it, which makes it hard to define. However, when you feel awkward, uncomfortable, and exhausted in a situation, it is an indicator you are not authentic. It is forcing you to wear a mask and act differently than you normally do. Usually, this happens if you are under pressure to behave in a particular way, for example, when you dislike the person you are talking to.
Scenarios where you have thoughts like: “I hate this person, but I’m trying to be nice.” or I feel uncomfortable in this situation, and I don’t know what to do about it. People tend to hide their true feelings when this happens by acting overly polite, but this strategy is pretty obvious.
Regardless of what you think about the person you talk to, it would help if you remain authentic. The best you can do is try to look with unbiased eyes when you meet someone. And don’t make a fake smile.
You never know you may discover something to appreciate about them. It can be a skill that you don’t have, or you get a better understanding of their actions.
When you find good in a situation or a person, it will lead to more genuine and productive interaction.
Maintaining a positive attitude can be hard if there is an event you don’t want to go to. So unless you absolutely must appear at a place, you are better off not going. You can only be your true authentic self when you make choices that you want to make, not choices you should make.
As there are two types of the event, the one you get to attend that makes you feel happy and excited or the other one where someone else is it an employer or family member suggest you to go. Make wise choices, whatever you can skip an occasion or not. Find something positive, an aspect that excites when you go to an event you would rather not.
A good idea maybe is to bring someone you like being around to feel more comfortable, which helps you to stay authentic.
How to be liked?
Have you ever been in a conversation, and you got this feeling the person that talks is totally fake?
It often happens when someone’s body language isn’t in sync with his word, something you need to avoid. You should work to communicate with confidence.
This can be archived by using the key components to communication, known as the three V’s:
- Verbal stands for words you say
- Vocal is the tone of your voice
- Visual is for your body language
Psychologist Albert Mehrabian states in his book “Silent Messages” someone’s total liking is 7 percent verbal 38 percent vocal and 55 percent visual. So words that you say have close to no effect on your likeability when not in sync with your body language and tone of voice.
You not only need to be consistent but also shouldn’t fall into self-doubt because if you don’t believe what you are saying, nobody else will. And when you feel unease in a situation, your body language will communicate this.
To have more confidence in communicating effectively, you need to recognize how you describe something because this will also impact your voice tone and body language. A good idea is to frame things positively to avoid negative thoughts.
Contrate yourself on things you can do instead of what you can’t. For instance, turn your thoughts, “I don’t know how to do this” into “I feel excited to work on something new.”
Starting a conversation
It can be terrifying for many people to start a conversation with total strangers. It is often the case that you may try to avoid saying stupid things or don’t know what to talk about. When you are in this situation, just show an honest curiosity about another person’s life.
A good conversation starter is to ask questions about someone’s job, hobbies, opinions, and life. It often needs only one topic, be it the favorite tv show or sport to keep a dialogue going.
For the first contact with a stranger or to maintain a conversation, you can ask an open-ended question.
To get a full response from another person, you can ask, for instance, if you are in a coffee shop: “How do you hear about this place?”. But don’t ask, “Did you find the place online” because this can be a simple answer with a yes or no.
Great follow-ups are probing questions; they will help you sustain a talk. They can be parted into three categories:
- Clarifying question “Do you mean…?”
- Rational question: “I´m curious why you think that..”
- Expansion probes: “Please explain further..”
What also improve your likeability a lot, are good listening skills. To building lasting connection people, you need to feel heard and understood. This can be archived if you use the three levels of listening:
- Inward listening is the basic in which you hear what someone says and how it relates to your own experience. It can be a commonality or shared opinion. For example, the other person tells you that he loves Italian food, which you can answer with “Yeah me too” or “I prefer Thai.”
- Outward listening is about finding something you relate that the speaker says and use this newly gained knowledge in a response. So the speaker tells you he likes Italian food you can respond by asking, “Why you like this food?” or Can you recommend a good Italian Restaurant?”. With this, you can uncover more of the other person’s interests and perspectives.
- Intuitive listening helps you to not only focus on the words someone says but also the tone of their voice, their body language, and even their energy. If a new friend says, she has an excited expression on her face when she talks about Italian food. You might say, “You seem so excited when you talk about it. Do you plan to visit Italy someday?”
Being a good networker
To connect with people, you need to seek shared interest, actively listen, and build a foundation of trust. Remember, you are not just your job title when you network with other people; you have plenty of talents. When you leave your comfort zone to develop new relationships, it will help you to feel more confident every time you make new contacts.
Also, online, you should be honest and trust-building if you talk to a new person. The good idea is to ensure you use the three communication and listening skills to make interesting new connections. It will benefit you in all everyday situations when you are authentic and someone whom people like to talk too.