Networking is a major factor in attaining success in both business and the everyday working world. Whether you are a high roller looking to engage partners for your latest venture or a regular working stiff interested in finding a new position, the ability to network effectively can open many doors and lead to new and exciting possibilities.
Not everyone has an innate ability to network. Some of us are better on paper than in person, while others are introverted and soft-spoken, finding it uncomfortable and alien to be aggressive in starting conversations. If you fall under either of those categories, the following tips can help you improve your ability to network:
When starting out, choose areas where you already feel comfortable and at home. For example, the gym, or clubs and organizations where you are a member. Talk to people there that you already know and then gradually expand your reach, based on the tips you get.
Whether it involves going to a get together with a lot of people or attending an actual networking event, don’t go overboard at first. Do what you feel comfortable doing. As you get more experienced and have successful encounters, your confidence will increase.
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
When you are ready, start putting yourself out there. For example, instead of spending time with just one person at a networking event, push yourself to go out on your own and strike up conversations. If this is awkward at first, don’t worry, it will eventually seem more natural and effective for you.
People really appreciate when you remember their names and details of past conversations. It proves that you were interested and engaged; that will make them more likely to remember your details and pass along any leads they come across.
Attaining business success can mean trying out a lot of different strategies and discovering what works. Some of these can be quite specific to that industry, while others have general application across a number of different organizations.
Here are three success tips that will apply to most any business venture:
Capitalize on Your Strengths
Chances are it was a particular set of skills that set your down your current path. You saw an opportunity, realized that you had the ability to capitalize on it, and surrounded yourself with people who could help you achieve you goal. However, in the thick of things, it can be easy to forget that considerable resource. Unsure of how to proceed in a certain area? Talk to your team and solicit their advice. The best solutions are often crafted from multiple contributions.
Craft a Plan, but Be Ready to Improvise
No successful business venture ever arose from a plan that was completely inflexible. No one has a crystal ball that allows them to fully predict how the market or relationships with other businesses might change without warning. Come up with a master strategy, but supplement it with a contingency plan. Putting all of your eggs in one basket may seem feasible and cost-effective, but it’s very risky and displays a lack of forward-thinking that can trip you up down the line.
Don’t Forget the Big Picture
We always have a master goal when entering into a business venture and keeping it in mind throughout the development stages is important to ensure efficiency and overall success (e.g. how will each phase of development lead to the desired result?). Remembering your overall goal can also help during times when things are not going to plan. The problems and potential strife still have to be dealt with, but the pain you encounter during the process will be tempered, if you keep that final result in mind.
One thing that every employer looks for in a worker is motivation. Employees who are motivated show up every day ready to work and looking to do the best job possible. A good supervisor will also be able to encourage his or her workers, providing the sort of coaching that will give them the spirit and energy to perform to the best of his abilities.
Gaining employee motivation is an excellent skill for any manager, but for those who do not have this skill or are concerned that some staff members are not putting in their best effort, workplace productivity motivators are an alternative solution.
The latter can be tricky. Amazon received much negative publicity when an undercover investigation revealed that employees are very strictly tracked and only had so long to perform certain tasks. Their movements were tracked by computer and if they did not show a certain job had been done before the time ran out, they were docked for that failure.
I understand both stances. If I was on a system like the one Amazon uses, I would feel stressed and dispirited. There needs to be a bond of trust between a worker and his or her employer for the relationship to be fruitful.
However, with some employees looking to game the system or just unwilling/unable to meet their job requirements, workplace productivity motivators can be a way of finding out who is not putting their weight.
Fortunately, workplace productivity motivators need not be so draconian. They could take the form of a contest for the person who makes the most sales in a month, or maybe the promise of a vacation to a team if they are able to meet a certain target. This approach is much more appealing to most people as it represents a fun sort of challenge, rather than a threat to their continued employement.