Business-oriented individuals see each employee as an influencer and advocate for a business. Regardless of the role or title, if an employee is passionate and empowered by their workplace, they have an opportunity to personally sell and create tangible value for the business. For those who are new to advocating for a business or personal brand, these top 5 networking tips can encourage new opportunities for yourself and your business.
- Be Active on Social Media & LinkedIn
Maintaining a strong social media presence is key and a major weapon for engaging with connections and developing new ones. Social media not only begins conversations, and provides a platform for thought leadership, it is a great tool to use in preparation for networking events and interviews, for both the employer and the candidate. LinkedIn has shaped into the leading business and professional social media platform with an open-book opportunity to craft and grow your personal and professional brand while advocating for your business (unless you work for the CIA).
- Attend Industry Events
In cities and business hubs across the world, “industry events” can be anything from a conference or trade show to a meet & greet or info session. Ultimately, it is an opportunity to bring like-minded people together to discuss and debate industry trends, learn and acquire insights and develop connections. New business opportunities form, strategic partnerships emerge and individuals can be empowered through face-to-face interactions. An incredible, highly productive way to network and represent your business. Attend with an open mind and plan for the kind of interactions you would like to have and the people you would like to meet.
- Attend Non-Industry Events
On the flip side, you have non-industry events; anything from dinner parties to theatres to bars & restaurants. Some of the most ingenious business opportunities were forged on a napkin. Brilliant ideas and impactful conversations can be stumbled upon anywhere. By exposing oneself to new experiences, new people with thought diversity and cross-industry connections, you maximize your opportunities to grow your business and professional network in new channels. All it takes is a simple thought-provoking question to get someone talking.
- Publish Your Thoughts
The best leaders and networkers devote time to critical reflection and writing. It is easier than ever to publish an article or opinion piece to your audience and by doing this, it starts a conversation. LinkedIn has built out a robust channel for posts and there are other digital and print publishers encouraging guest contributors. Networking is about insightful conversations and those lead to strong business relationships. It can be industry related or not, just get talking!
- Share your unique skills
No matter the role, everyone has something they can do that might better or more valuable than someone else. With more experience and/or education devoted to developing a skill, they suddenly have something they can offer as a valuable service to someone else. Whether that is accounting, creative ideation, or mowing a lawn, you can always give back to someone by offering your skills. If it’s pro-bono or not, being a civil servant develops credibility, trust, and respect, which are three incredibly important traits to have in the pursuit of networking and building sound business relationships.