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:
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.
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.
3. Now, Leverage the Power of Social Communities
Once your social media is optimized, it’s time to leverage the online communities.
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:
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.
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:
While these are all very important, here are some other examples that you should focus on:
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:
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.
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:
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?!)