Grow Rich and Connected: Effective Networking Tips for Increasing Your Net Worth
Learn how to network more effectively with these tips that can help you increase your net worth.
Networking may not be your favorite pastime activity and may even cause you anxiety. However, everyone agrees that networking is essential for developing your professional network and creating lasting connections.
Networking does not have to be awkward or a nefarious scheme to just get what you want. Networking is the exchange of ideas, thoughts, and experiences between individuals. It usually happens between people with a shared interest, profession, or industry resulting in referrals, connections, exposure, and growth in your professional and personal life. But to most people, walking into a room full of strangers and striking up conversations is daunting. You can utilize the following techniques as stepping stones.
1. Network before you need to
The majority of networking veterans can probably spot a desperate networker. The resume on your hands and your nervous demeanor will give you away. Instead, you can make networking an integral part of your daily life. Build genuine connections when you don’t think you really need them because they might come in handy. You must cultivate your relationships over time and invest in them before expecting anything in return. Talk to the people in your gym class, your neighbors, or your cousin’s friend at the family function. Learn to build networks without the pressure to do so.
There is no such thing as the "perfect time to network." The greatest moment to plant a tree was 20 years ago, claims Andrew Winning, director of NEXUS Project. Right now is only second-best."
If you want the best out of your networking endeavor, make sure to thoroughly research the people you're trying to network with, their project, the market they’re in, their competitors, etc. This way, you will not only respect their time, but you will also leave a good impression. Particularly if you're looking for internships or career possibilities, your journey must be intentional.
This works whether you’re sending an email or striking up a conversation at an event. Even if you don’t have the time to do thorough research, especially when you’ve just met the person at an event, take a bathroom break to google the person and what they do. They’ll have a positive image of you because you value what they do. This method will greatly help you create a meaningful connection.
3. Connect, don’t just meet
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in networking is assuming that other people are there to serve your needs alone. You are not networking if you approach individuals with a goal in mind and show little interest in what they have to say. To network successfully, you need to be authentic and willing to listen. While you don’t need to be close friends with everyone you meet, it is essential that you form genuine connections with the people you meet. It's crucial to strike the correct balance between confidence and vulnerability when attempting to build relationships.
The networking game is not of give and take but of "give-give-get." You should be ready to invest heavily in the relationships you’re building before you expect any returns. Furthermore, you ought to consider becoming a "human Linkedin" by helping others connect. They'll remember you, which will raise the likelihood that they'll extend the same courtesy to you.
5. Stay connected
You’ve broken the ice, exchanged business cards, made a good impression, and you’ve met a good number of influential people. That’s not the end, however, as you have yet to solidify all the networking you have done. This is usually done by follow-up or courtesy emails. You should express your gratitude and reaffirm your interest in their company or advice. Also, keep any commitments you made, such as introducing them to a specific person or sending them a specific file, if any.
Networking is a pool from which you can draw emotional, professional, and societal support in times of need. In the words of Porter Gale, author of Your Network Is Your Net Worth, “Your net worth will be based, not on the size of your portfolio or the size of your network, but on your ability to define and stay true to your passions and values; and that working with other people who share them will allow you to build a strong and enduring interpersonal safety net that will carry you through any financial calamity to greater output and personal fulfillment.”
Your network is indeed your net worth, but you have to be thoughtful of how and why you connect with others. Intentional and genuine networking is a great way to boost your professional confidence while enhancing your personal life. You don’t need to wait for a networking event to network; just pick up the phone and reach out to a friend you haven't spoken to in a while.