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In a highly competitive work environment, an exceptional skill in networking is vital to achieving your dream. Building and maintaining good relations with clients and business partners enable mutual growth for both parties. Many companies want to find employees who have the knack for creating interpersonal relations, and usually, these employees easily get promoted and rise up the corporate ladder, as their networking skills expand and improve their companies’ performance.

However, if you’re thinking that networking skills are gifts endowed to a select few, you definitely have it wrong. Most employees look at networking as an awkward task, and no one can get it right the first few tries. Building good business relationships entail a mix of luck and some hit and miss strategies.

Just as there are many possible ways in achieving your dreams, networking also works differently for each employee. Here are some tried and tested tips you should seriously consider when you have decided to change your networking game plan:

  1. Invest time and effort – There is no better way to build new professional relations than to devote time and effort. Apart from giving out your contact details and trying to memorise people’s names, really allotting time for social interactions help build stronger business relationships. Clients and business partners alike would appreciate if you take time to forge stronger connections, and this could lead to higher ROI too. Clients transact more with people that they trust, and trust needs time to build. 

  1. Balance real-time and virtual communication – While it is good to constantly send e-mails and online communications to your network of business partners, nothing beats real-time interactions. Try to meet and transact with warm bodies as often as your task allows.

  1. Be more visible – Nothing ruins business networks than stagnant business relations. If you want your network to grow in 2013 and pave the highway that would help you in achieving your dream, you have to maximise your presence in all platforms. Use emerging social networking sites like LinkedIn and other business specific portals to make your presence felt.

  1. Follow up – Networks don’t have any worth if you treat them as fillers for your address book. When you are expanding business relations in, let’s say, networking events, you need to follow up your new contact after your first interaction. In the fast-paced world we are currently in, people who don’t follow up tend to be forgotten immediately after the first handshake. Sending an e-mail, a note or even a phone call to your new contact can up the ante, and makes sure that the new bridge you’ve just built will not be burnt down immediately. 

  1. Strategise – In any endeavour, from the simple daily task to achieving your dream, you need to strategise. Ask yourself each morning, “How will I expand my network today?” Don’t be afraid to try new gimmicks and tactics. Think outside the box!

In the networking arena, speed is the new benchmark. As technology becomes faster than ever, everyone’s attention span has shrunk. Potential business partners know what they need from you, and they need it fast. Therefore, it would be good to make your advances known even at the onset. Don’t wait for your contacts to get comfortable with you before you offer them anything. If the perfect opportunity that would help you in achieving your dream sale presents itself, strike while the iron is hot! Dilly-dallying is a thing of the past.

 

 

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Paul Bailey
 

Paul is a highly experienced Business Coach, Mentor and Personal Development Specialist. He works with people to enhance business and personal performance through a process of supported self-awareness and self- development. Paul is the Co-Author of the book 80 Tips.

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