The Power of Networking: How to Cultivate Meaningful Business Relationships

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Networking tends to psychologically benefit individuals, as humans are social creatures. In addition, according to data reported by Technopedia, 46% of job seekers searched for career opportunities via friends, 25% – via professional connections, and 23% – via career fairs. But how can you cultivate meaningful business relationships, especially if you are at the beginning of your career? Stay tuned and find out.

1. Use people search websites

While platforms such as LinkedIn allow you to search for individuals by their name and see people’s places or work, they don’t tell you anything about a connection besides what that connection is willing to share.

People search websites, on the other hand, allow you to find useful information about people you have doubts about. On Nuwber, you can find professional details, phone numbers, addresses, criminal records, social media profiles, and other useful details about people you have recently met and want to know more about.

2. Participate in formal, informal, and online networking

Networking can be classified according to the context in which social interactions take place. More specifically, formal contact-making is typically associated with organized events such as business conferences or other events organized by companies. This approach provides a structured environment where professionals can meet and discuss topics that are more or less related to their work activities. 

Organized professional events are among the best opportunities to connect with people who are active in the fields that interest you. Companies usually announce corporate-related events in advance, meaning you have enough time to prepare and give your best if you want to impress someone in particular.

Informal networking, on the other hand, takes place in less structured settings, with common examples being parties, casual meetups, or random encounters. These interactions can still lead to high-quality connections when individuals share professional goals or other interests. While informal encounters typically mean less time to prepare yourself for meeting a particular individual, the relaxing nature of these gatherings can sometimes make it easier to establish connections with professional ramifications.

A more recent strategy to establish business connections is by using online platforms. One example is LinkedIn, which is a social network that allows you to connect virtually with individuals from any industry, regardless of their geographic location. LinkedIn can also be used to find jobs and to pitch ideas, provided that you manage to capture someone’s attention.

3. Build a personal brand

It is not only social media influencers who need to concern themselves with branding. People who don’t get the chance to know you at a more personal level will need to know your brand to assess whether they want to work with you or not. In this context, branding refers to your skills, qualities, and experiences and how you present them to the world.

To build a personal brand, reflect on your knowledge, skills, and values and find the best strategies to present them to other people. Your branding strategies can include building powerful social media profiles and writing blogs where you post engaging content and engage in conversations through which you demonstrate your expertise.

4. Learn how to make use of communication strategies

Some of you think of yourself as good talkers and listeners and, in some cases, you may be right. That being said, what works in some contexts may not work in others. Learning how to apply communication strategies that bring results is more than just having good social skills.

If your goal is to convince someone that they should work with you or at least have you on their mind for future projects, you need to know how to engage in a compelling elevator pitch. To speak to others in a language that resonates with them you also need to be a good listener, as this allows you to understand the needs and aspirations of a network.

5. Prove that you are authentic

Just because you have managed to get someone’s contact details doesn’t mean you have achieved your objective. Relationships develop over time, and you need to cultivate authenticity to prove that you are trustworthy.

You can prove your authenticity by being consistent, reliable, and transparent. In addition, you will want to show your contact that you give to them as much as they give to you; otherwise, they might feel you are taking advantage of their position and have no interest in them. 

In many cases, the ultimate goal of networking is establishing long-term relationships based on trust and consideration of each participant’s needs and desires.

6. Don’t be shy

Some people like social interactions more than others. If you are shy or otherwise introverted, you may face additional challenges in developing long-term relationships with other people. One way to tackle this issue is by gradually expanding your comfort zone and consistently testing what works and what does not. It’s equally important to learn how to handle rejection and not give up just because some people do not seem interested in becoming your contacts.

Bottom line: Just because you are self-sufficient doesn’t mean you have to be alone

Whether you are in college, at the start of your career, or considering a lifestyle change, having people who can help you achieve your objectives can make a huge difference. Having friends or acquaintances who are active in a specific field can provide both personal value in the form of social support as well as professional value in the form of career opportunities.  

Last but not least, if you feel you are self-sufficient and do not like to ask for help, you might want to consider the possibility that building a group of contacts doesn’t reduce self-sufficiency. Instead, it amplifies your potential and the potential of those working with you. Ultimately, whether you want to be a lone wolf or work in a pack is up to you, just make sure you don’t make a decision based on preconceptions rather than on what you actually want for yourself.

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