Six tips on how to network and create true, meaningful connections

4) Invest in the relationships

The goal of networking goes beyond LinkedIn contacts. It?s developing genuine relationships, with like-minded people. 

As with everything in life, what you put in, is what you get out. Investing time to network ? be it at an event, over a coffee or more informally ? enables you to connect with other people who are aligned with your business goal or vision. 

Surrounding yourself with a network of other motivated business people opens you up to wider sources of advice, support, inspiration and mentorship ? opportunity inevitably follows, be it a referral or a new working partnership. 

5) Affirm your own networking style

What kind of networker do you want to be? In many ways, it?s like leadership ? authentic networking is something you have to want and demonstrate. This is your personal brand so create your own style, your own mindset and understand how it works for you and your business. What?s the impact you want to make through networking? 

Authentic networking is an incredibly powerful accelerator for business growth. At the core, it?s about sharing success in a sincere and meaningful way. When you help those around you become more successful, so you become more integral to their own networks and businesses. 

6) Train your team in the art of networking and invest in them!

If you have employees, make sure that you pass on your knowledge and passion for authentic connecting – demonstrate massive enthusiasm for this skill. Becoming a good networker won?t happen overnight and it won?t come naturally to most, so you need to ensure your team understand the strategy and recognise its value. 

Look at their training needs and adapt their personal development programme to include reference to networking. If they need help with public speaking or developing confidence then look to host a session with an external trainer ? the cost will be worth it in the long run. Show not tell is key here; the energy and commitment must come from the top and filter through the entire organisation.

And remember, when the investment and hard work starts to pay off and business begins to flow, be mindful that your introducer is putting their own reputation at risk by recommending you ? so make sure you provide an outstanding service and don?t let them down!

Paul Macbeth is MD of Macbeth.

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