How to Get Started as a Networker [9 Key Principles]

As a new year begins, it is always best to create some resolutions. Why not start networking? Starting out as a networker can be a daunting experience, but here are 9 key principles to remember:

  1. Change your mindset – you network and make connections all the time, so stop feeling afraid of networking and get on with it! Recognise that depth is good, it’s about creating trust.
  2. Develop a style that works for you – if you are an introvert then stick to situations where you can speak in depth to one or two people, not huge speed dating type events. Always carry business cards and make sure people know who you are.
  3. Remember that networking is building long term relationships based on trust – do what you say are going to do, honour confidences and only ask for what people are able to give.
  4. Know your strengths and work to them – do what you enjoy! Maybe you hate eating with others but love country walks? Make them part of your style.
  5. Tap into your network’s networks, get introduced in order to spread your network. Asking contacts who they can introduce you to is a classic networker’s tool.
  6. It’s a two way thing, always be ready to give, give when you see no prospect of re-payment. This is long term strategy not today’s tactics. Joining up your contacts fro their mutual advantage is a great way to give value.
  7. Keep high standards, focus on where you want to network, don’t just be a tart. Make sure you think about who or what you need and where you will find it. And follow the etiquette – follow up on the contacts you make.
  8. Get your network going when you don’t need anything. Phoning people from 20 years ago (it is never too late to pick up a contact) works better when you are not saying ‘Giz us a job!’ And on that note, ask for help, ideas and information.. never ask directly for a job. Join a couple of groups, get some opportunities to meet people you can help.
  9. Don’t rely solely on social media, it gives you quantity not quality, use it to get in touch and then press some flesh, it is your start point not your end point.

Good luck and have some fun on the way!

By Mary Hope

Mary Hope is the founder of Mary Hope Career Success, she works with executives and managers to support them get paid more, promoted faster and feel more satisfied. She has 30 years experience of HR, training and headhunting both private and public sectors, is a published author and career coach. Follow Mary on Twitter @maryhopecareers