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Tips for Networking the Right Way

by Narine Sookram
Image courtesy of Spot Us on Flickr

When there is an opportunity for a motivated group to gather together, there is always a chance to network. By taking the time to speak with like-minded business people, you can establish valuable connections and job leads, gain beneficial career advice from experts in your field, and even learn new ideas or tips that can be used in your personal life. 

Networking requires a lot of time and energy, so it’s important to get the most out of each experience and leave having learned something new. Here are some tips to avoid common networking mistakes, to help make the best use of your time:

Always put your personal career goals first

While it is important to take advantage of as many opportunities as you can, you also have to be cautious that you are taking advantage of the right opportunities - not just any and every opportunity that comes your way. Before attending a networking event, consider whether or not the opportunity aligns with your career goals, your personal vision and values. If it does not, you might find you are spending time and money on something that will not take you anywhere.

Use your connections to build even more connections

Another tip to keep in mind is that networking is not always just about who you are speaking with directly, you also must consider who else this person can connect you to. Therefore, you should take the time to ask the right questions in order to identify whether or not the person you are talking to knows the other people you would like to meet. In a sense, networking provides us with a great pool of connections, but also opens up opportunities to meet other influential people that we probably would not otherwise meet. There is an old saying that, “It’s not WHAT we know, but WHO we know.” This is still the case, especially in the business world.  

Separate useful advice from non-useful advice

It’s not always easy to get good career advice, but when we network with other people, there are many opportunities to get insider knowledge and advice that we would not get elsewhere. One important tip to keep in mind is that we must make sure that we get the right advice from the right people. Some people are great at faking it, therefore, make sure you get getting advice from someone who actually knows their stuff, and is not just giving random advice on a topic he or she has limited knowledge of.

Don’t forget to build your own reputation too

One of the big benefits of networking is being visible and getting noticed. This means that it is crucial for you to make sure you are taking the time to attend business and social events regularly. This will help you become a familiar face in the business community. Once you have established your presence, take the opportunity to build your reputation as being knowledgeable and supportive by offering your own useful information to others who need it.   

Happy Networking! 

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