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Mastering the art of networking: strategies to excel in building connections

Running a business can be challenging, but the journey doesn’t have to be solitary. Whether you’re a founder, owner-manager, or CEO, navigating the entrepreneurial path is made easier through networking with peers, fostering connections, and uncovering new business prospects.

Enhancing your networking prowess involves becoming an integral part of the broader business community. It’s not just about receiving support but also actively contributing to the collective growth. Recognising that you’re surrounded by like-minded individuals with similar aspirations underscores the value of networking, regardless of whether you’re a newcomer or a seasoned entrepreneur.

So, how can you become a standout networker? While there’s no one-size-fits-all formula, we’ve outlined five essential strategies to maximise your networking efforts and contribute meaningfully to your community:

  • Authenticity and Relationship Building – Embrace authenticity in your interactions. Genuine curiosity and a sincere interest in understanding your peers lay the foundation for lasting connections. Take the time to learn about their work, passions, and aspirations. Remember, networking is about building relationships, not just conducting transactions.

  • Active Listening and Thoughtful Engagement – Effective networking hinges on being an attentive listener. Focus on understanding the perspectives of others without the urge to interject or redirect the conversation. Engage thoughtfully by asking pertinent questions and demonstrating genuine interest in their insights. Establishing common ground fosters rapport and mutual understanding.

  • Offering Expertise and Assistance – Elevate your presence within the community by leveraging your expertise to offer value. Be proactive in extending assistance, whether it’s sharing industry insights, providing resources, or facilitating introductions. Contributing to the growth and success of others reinforces your role as a valuable resource and strengthens relationships.

  • Establishing Thought Leadership – Set yourself apart by actively participating in industry discussions and driving innovation. Position yourself as a thought leader by sharing fresh ideas, insights, and perspectives through articles, blog posts, or presentations. Your proactive involvement in shaping industry discourse enhances your credibility and expands your network.

  • Effective Follow-Up – Capitalise on networking opportunities by following up with contacts after events. Exchange contact information and make an effort to reach out via email, LinkedIn, or other platforms. Cultivate relationships by engaging with their content and initiating meaningful conversations. Consistent follow-up reinforces your commitment to nurturing connections beyond initial encounters.

Where to Network?

  • Industry-Specific Events and Conferences – Engage with professionals in your field, stay updated on industry trends, and showcase your expertise through participation in relevant events and conferences.

  • Social Media Platforms – Utilise platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and others to expand your network, share insights, and foster connections beyond physical boundaries.

  • Local Meetups and Workshops – Tap into your local business community by attending meetups and workshops, business breakfast events and evening get-togethers. These gatherings provide opportunities to network with fellow entrepreneurs, gain insights, and contribute to the local business community.

Active participation in networking activities not only enhances your professional profile but also enriches the broader business community. By embracing authenticity, offering value, and fostering meaningful connections, you can elevate your networking skills and unlock new avenues for growth.

If you’re looking to raise your profile and improve your networking, we’d love to lend a helping hand.

Graham Burfield
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