How to become a master business networker

Become a master business networker

Networking is a vital part of strengthening a business, whether it is about growing a base of industry contacts, meeting more experienced industry leaders for advice and mentorship, or seeking out sales opportunities. There is a subtle art to networking which can be difficult to master, but building this skill can open many doors for personal career development and business growth.

Seartec has a few tips on how to become a master networker.

Be real Don’t arrive at an event with a rehearsed sales pitch – it comes across as false and forced. People respond to someone who is genuine, so rather think about what you are passionate about in your business and industry, talk about issues and current events and focus on what the other person has to say.

This leads in to the second point, which is: Don’t just talk, listen Networking is a long-term process. Instead of being pushy or trying to dominate the conversation to try and steer it into achieving your objectives, be a good conversationalist. Make the other person feel heard and take an interest in what they are saying. This will help you to strike up a rapport and will help to sow the seeds for relationship building. Simple ways to do this include making eye contact, asking open-ended questions (as opposed to those that require a yes or no answer) and listening more than you talk.

business networking tips Once the initial relationship has been established: Build a reputation for being trustworthy Once you have made a contact, follow up and ensure that you are seen as reliable. Try to make contact within 48 hours, whether it is on a social network such as LinkedIn, or through a phone call or email. During the course of building the relationship, keep your promises and be prompt on carrying out any tasks agreed upon. A good reputation will extend beyond the primary contact and make it easier for you to expand your network.

Keep at it Networking requires persistence and is an ongoing presence. Stay visible by attending events regularly. Identify significant online spaces and be visible there too – write articles, share interesting content, participate in conversations. It is also crucial to stay abreast of industry trends and news in order to stay relevant. For a fun and beneficial evening of networking, consider attending one of Seartec’s Rugby Business Network events. Tickets are complimentary for these sell-out events so it is vital to register early. The Johannesburg RBN event, featuring Stefan Terblanche in conversation with Bob Skinstad, is on the 2nd of December 2015 at 19:00 and the Cape Town RBN event, featuring Matt Pearce in conversation with Bob Skinstad, is on the 24th of November at 18:00.

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