Do You Effectively Network?

A critical part of any business – particularly startups – is learning how to effectively network. A strong professional network can help you leverage everything from new solutions for persistent business problems to word-of-mouth recommendations that can boost brand awareness.

The trick with networking is to become proactive, which means taking control of the situation instead of simply reacting to it. Networking requires going beyond your comfort zone and challenging yourself. The best networking events for startup companies will help expose you to other founders and entrepreneurs who are (or have been) in the same position as you are now. Everyone is there for the same reason, but the key to walking away from networking events with leads and new relationships is to provide value to the people you are meeting!

“Offer your help first.” 

People Love Talking About Themselves!

Many individuals will approach others at networking event seeking answers to their own problems or challenges. However, one of the best ways to form meaningful, productive relationships is to ask questions and discover how you can provide value to them when you meet people. Traditionally, people are passionate about their work. Watch them light up when you ask meaningful questions far beyond “what do you do?” and instead “tell me about the problem you’re solving.”

Ask what you can bring to the table, and share helpful tips with others. Don’t expect anything in return. When you provide value, it’s much more likely to be reciprocated. Cold email contacts suggesting ways that they can make more sales. Make introductions to people who you know can help your contacts. Share what’s been working in your business and encourage colleagues and contacts to try it. This is how you get people’s attention, command respect, and encourage others to proactively try to help you.

Providing true value to new connections is the top method of expanding your network in a meaningful way.

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