When it comes to business and entrepreneurship, there are many skills important for success. And when it comes to ranking those skills, networking tops the list! Both personally and professionally, it’s important to develop your networking competency.

Even the best of business ideas will remain ideas without a solid networking strategy to promote it. Increase your networking acumen (and your business success) with these tips:

  1. Diversify your network. Rather than sticking with “like-minded” or industry-specific contacts, it’s important to connect with fellow professionals in other fields or professions. Diversity of thought, experience, and influence is a great way to develop your own network and expand your business. You’ll never grow if you don’t step outside of your current boundaries and you never know who will be the catalyst to take your business to the next level.
  2. Treat your network well. Deborah Mills-Scofield argues that “networking has existed for the past 2000 years and it has enabled our survival.” Beyond simply gathering new leads or email subscribers, networking and network management promotes communication and spreads knowledge. Keeping your network “in the know” and engaged is important to ensure they are working on your behalf to promote and spread your message.
  3. Look for new employees within your network. Career coaches are increasingly promoting networking as both a professional skill and the best job source. In diversifying your network, you’ll open yourself up to the potential to meet top-performers across multiple industries. While looking for your next top employee, trust your network! A partner in your current network may be able to introduce you to the perfect person for the job, so keep your lines of communication open.    
  4. Develop networking subgroups. Linda Hill and Kent Lineback argue that the development of three networks are critical for success. They describe these three subgroups as operational, developmental, and strategic. The operational networking group is for day to day work. The developmental subgroup is a collection of trusted people who you can turn to for advice and to hash out important decisions. Finally, the strategic group is made up of those people that help you to define your future business and personal development goals and those who will support you to see those goals achieved.  
  5. Give! Networking is all about discovering the needs of someone and being or finding a way to the solution. The more you do this for others, the more you’ll see in return. Along these lines, a few traits of the most successful networkers include a positive attitude, trustworthiness, good listening skills, enthusiasm, helpfulness, and sincerity. What can you do for someone else?

Curious to learn more? Check out this article for 10 great networking tips you can implement today.

Join us at our next Nashville Locals event to try your hand at implementing some of these networking tips!