10 Tips and Guidelines for Effective Networking
Background of Module discussed
Meeting new people can be nerve-wracking and uncomfortable. Coaching in this area will focus on refining your social skills to keep the conversational ball rolling in difficult social settings. However, establishing good relationships with a wide variety of people from different environments, conferences, meetings, industry events or seminars are imperative to building an inventory of knowledge and associates. This module will not only focus on refining your social and networking skills in order to enhance your negotiation, networking and communicative impact power but also to build definite relationships with different types of people in a variety of social settings.
Importance of utilising Networking in the Workspace
Having an established network comprises various benefits such as exchanging knowledge, ideas, resources and information. Therefore, establishing good relationships with a wide variety of people from different environments, conferences, meetings, industry events or seminars are imperative to building an inventory of knowledge and associates.
10 Guidelines for Effective Networking
- 1. Signal Likeability
Research in the field of behavioural studies and communication have affirmed that we are wired to like people who like us. However, often Signal Amplification Bias occurs as we think our social cues are obvious, but they’re not. Have you ever asked someone to go and speak to another person on your behalf because you “thought” that they didn’t like you? This occurs because the person signalling for likeability was not clear or not signalled at all. Also, research has shown that we are so afraid of rejection that we will not signal others that we like them.
Try signalling likeability in the following was:
- Eye Contact
- Open body language
- Open Palms
- 2. Like More People
If you like more people, more people will like you. Why? Because there is no fear of social rejection.
- 3. Use the Similarity Effect
Research affirmed that we like people who are like us. We are attracted to people who have similar values, beliefs, ideas, thinking processes, looks and interests than us. Therefore, when you are having a conversation with someone else, make sure to find and highlight your similarities.
- 4. BE AUTHENTIC
Yes, we want you to highlight your similarities in a conversation, but make sure that they are REAL similarities. Be yourself. It is okay to be a little different and to have your own opinions, likes and dislikes. Illustrating your differences in a diplomatic and positive way enhances your transparency, authenticity and builds trust between you and the other person.
- 5. Use a Future Mention
Have you ever been in a conversation that was nearing its dreadful end and neither of you know how to change the topic or end the conversation, so you just marinade in that awkward silence? Well, there is a remedy for that, and it’s called a future mention; whenever you want to end the conversation, mention something that you have spoken about that still needs to happen e.g. “Good luck with your presentation next week. I know that you are going to be great. Let me know how it went. Goodbye” or “Enjoy the workshop tomorrow. I hope it’s insightful. See you”.
- 6. Be Relatable
Nobody is perfect, so do not try to be. Effective relationships depend on how relatable the other person is. Do not be afraid to show some form of your insecurities, weaknesses or failures, because we all have them. Your insecurities can be used as a bonding tool as we are all equally insecure – even your boss.
- 7. Never be a Conversation Narcissist
Charismatic people focus on how they can ask the most interesting questions. You need to approach every networking situation with “How can I get this person to tell me their entire story”.
- 8. Gush, do not Gossip
The Behavioural Research Company called ‘The Science of People’, have affirmed that there is something called the Spontaneous Trait Transfer. This suggests that when you speak ill of someone else, others cannot help but to transfer those traits onto your persona as well. Likewise: If you gush about someone else, those positive traits get transferred to you.
- 9. Use positive Nonverbal Communication
Various research in the field of neurobiology and psychology has affirmed that human beings are more dependent on nonverbal cues than verbal cues in order to effectively express and communicate meaning and emotion.
- 10. Look for Conversational Sparks
Charismatic people are constantly looking for conversational sparks, which refers to highlighting personal similarities and stimulating interest and curiosity. This is illustrated by a nonverbal cue of raising the eyebrow to go “wow”, “that’s interesting”, “oh, I didn’t know that” and “really, no way”. Establishing and looking for conversational sparks will ensure that you become memorable and interesting to listen too. NOTE: Do not be a know-it-all (conversational narcissist). Make sure that you provide the other person with an opportunity to share their “interesting stories” and also raise the occasional eyebrow.
The embodiment of these elements will not only enhance your negotiation, networking and communicative impact power, but also enable you to build positive rapport and shape definite relationships with clients, co-workers, team members and people from different environments, conferences, meetings, industry events or seminars.