I have read so many resources on how to boost your networking skills. And it’s all the same basic information we’re all very aware of:

  • Actively listen to what they’re saying and take note.
  • Be positive and friendly, but not overbearing.
  • Speak clearly, and don’t babble.

Blah. Blah. Blah

Alright, it’s 2024, and there are so many new networking skills that have changed post-pandemic that nobody is talking about.

As a previous Realtor, pharmacist, and now entrepreneur, I’m going to give you some real-life networking skills you need to develop if you want to grow and expand your personal reach.

1. Stay Up To Date with Technology

I can’t beat this one hard enough.

As a millennial, I used to not understand what GenX and Boomers thought was so difficult about technology. Then GenZ came around with Discord, Slack, and TikTok and suddenly I realized it takes active effort to stay with the curve.

So, when it comes to networking, get your digital footprint on point. Because if it’s not, you need to stop reading and get this up to speed first.

  • Upgrade to the best digital business card. Who carries around a Rolodex? No one wants to manually enter in new contacts into their phone (and in case you didn’t realize it, paper business cards go straight to the trash, Bob). So please upgrade to a digital version.
  • This may seem superficial, but if you pull out a flip phone, it’s an instant negative first impression. I need to know that you’re up to date with the times, so leave the flip phone in your pocket if you don’t have an updated piece of tech.
  • If you’re networking at a recruiting event, then please make sure you have the best resume at hand digitally if needed (AI resume builders are golden to help you with career advancement).

2. Have Picture-Perfect Social Media Networking

Let’s say you meet someone and have a great conversation and you exchange contact information.

What’s the first thing they do when the convo is over? They look you up online.

So you need to make sure your social networks and digital footprint are ON POINT.

  • Professional networking socials should be kept up-to-date. These include LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter). Attach your resume, and carefully curate a powerful digital profile pic (use an AI headshot generator if you don’t have one). No pictures of your animals, please.
  • Any new connections you make in person, be sure to add them on all your socials.
  • Make sure that you keep all comments and posts professional (please steer clear of any polarizing content).

3. Now, Leverage the Power of Social Communities

Once your social media is optimized, it’s time to leverage the online communities.

Networking skills are just as crucial in the digital world as they are in the physical one.

sam brandon
  • Facebook Groups are a great way to network within a specific community. Provide free content and tips to your community, while curating a collection of customers that post about live feedback.
  • Encourage your community members to share their own experiences, questions, and successes. It’s how you can continue conversations and meet potential partners and clients. I’ve also discussed Facebook networking tips as well.
  • Promote organic relationships by hosting online networking events or even provide content via a YouTube channel for extra support.

In the digital age, networking isn’t just about who you know; it’s about who you genuinely connect with and the communities you build together.

So, dive into those online groups with the goal to contribute, engage, and grow together. The relationships you’ll cultivate there are likely to transcend professional connections, evolving into genuine, mutually supportive partnerships.

4. Master Powerful Email Etiquette

We’ve spent a lot of time discussing networking skills required through social media, but email is just as important (and no, it absolutely is not dead). Be sure you’ve mastered the art of the email.

Engaging Email Networking Tips:

  • Use emojis. While some may think it’s “unprofessional”, they’re actually now used all the time to add emotion to your statements. But use them in a professional and appropriate manner.
  • Responding appropriately and timely is a must. No one wants a response a month later.
  • If you’re participating in cold email outreach to help your networking efforts, then double-check your tone before hitting send. The best cold email software can help you accomplish this.
  • Be mindful of the attachments and links you include. Ensure they’re relevant, safe, and accessible to the recipient. And don’t forget to use a professional email signature with your contact information—it makes it easy for people to reach out to you and serves as a digital business card.

Mastering the art of email communication is crucial in this digital age, as it’s often the first step to nurturing lasting professional relationships.

5. Be Your Genuine Self

Great networking skills are helpful, but ultimately the way you reach most people is by being yourself.

You don’t need to be the life of the party.

Odds are, the person you’re talking to isn’t either, so understanding who the other person is and being yourself will help you when it comes to building relationships.

6. Communication Skills Are Essential

Public speaking and the ability to engage in a meaningful conversation is obviously critical when it comes to business networking. Especially in person, which is why is also makes my list of high-income skills.

  • If you feel like you suck at it, join Toast Masters or something equivalent in your area.
  • Respond accordingly to the interested party. Listening is 80% of the work, but having an engaging response back keeps it going.
  • Use your own experiences during discussions. Provide examples and get people excited about the topic.
  • Master the art of small talk. Don’t just talk about the weather. Ask more open-ended questions that can open up a new door for you like favorite foods, books, pop culture, sports, etc. I like this list of questions to help you out.

7. Non-Verbal Cues

While everyone spends their time focusing on their communication skills, I would argue that body language and non-verbal cues are more critical networking skills you need to perfect. Influential people have this down to a science, and their presence is recognized the moment they enter a room.

Here’s the usual list:

  • Active Listening
  • Positive attitude
  • Eye contact
  • Neutral or positive facial expressions at all times.

While these are all very important, here are some other examples that you should focus on:

  • Great posture. Do not underestimate the presence you have when you walk into the room. Hold your head up high.
  • High Confidence. This doesn’t mean that you need to be rude or boastful, but don’t slither away and undervalue yourself. You’re important, and you deserve to be there.
  • Dress to Impress. Do not wear flashy designer labels, but rather subtle professional touches that give you that extra boost of self-esteem.

8. Have Your Elevator Pitch Ready

If you own a business, be prepared at all times with your elevator pitch because you’ll never know when and where you’ll run into a potential collaboration. While you’ll likely be ready at an industry event, you probably will be caught off guard at your son’s soccer game.

If you’re trying to promote your business or career, here are some tips to having a great elevator pitch:

  • KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). Straight to the point and related to your conversation (don’t throw it into the conversation awkwardly).
  • Keep it short. No one wants to listen to a ten-minute schpiel about your company.
  • Practice makes perfect. Say it a thousand times in front of the mirror so you can achieve a powerful message in a short amount of time.

9. Build Relationships, Don’t Just Make Acquaintances

It doesn’t matter if you’re networking to look for new potential clients or business partners, remember that meeting someone and having a nice conversation is just the beginning, not the end game.

You want to truly curate business relationships.

Find common ground like hobbies you may share, families, or vacation spots. Someone with good networking skills knows how to relate when it comes to business, but also personally. Make that discussion a genuine connection.

Build trust and make time to talk more at a later point.

10. Be Selective On Who You Network With

It’s not about quantity, it’s quality.

Your inner circle is critical to your success. Surround yourself by low-achievers, and you won’t move far. But surround yourself by the people you inspire to be, then you’ll find yourself moving upward quicker than ever.

  • Don’t blatantly ask someone to be your mentor. It’s a weird and awkward conversation. These things happen organically without any labels.
  • Offer something. Why would someone take the time out of their busy to help you out? The right network starts by giving them something of value first.
  • Your online circle is extremely important. Be sure to be active on socials, follow those you aspire to be, and oftentimes, this research gives you more small talk to discuss at your next networking event.

11. Follow Up Like a Boss

If you really want to elevate your networking skills, then make sure you have a killer way to follow up conversations. These are the ways I personally like to keep in touch with people I meet:

  • Keep notes (hence the digital or NFC business card) about your conversations. Are they a Diamondbacks fan? Write it down. Then send along something a few weeks later (I can’t believe the Dbacks are making it to the World Series!).
  • For more professional contacts, forward over an awesome article about a topic you were discussing.
  • If they discussed things they were looking to get help with, send a nice email saying “Hey, I was checking into more about XYZ and thought it may help..”

Whatever it is, keep the conversation going.

12. The Best Networking Skill Is Practice Makes Perfect

Networking skills (like everything else) take practice. Go to those events, practice small talk when you’re in line at the coffee shop, make it an effort to perfect these skills.

The best thing you can do is invest in yourself, and networking skills are critical no matter what industry you’re in.

What other things do you think should have been on this list? Drop a comment to me on X or LinkedIn (see what I did there?!)

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