How to master the art of networking

If you want to make the most of your career and take up every growth opportunity, it’s essential to actively network. By meeting and getting to know people who can assist you or whom you can help in return, you can build solid, long-term business relationships and enhance your reputation in your chosen field.

Networking is vital because it can increase the level of knowledge you have about an industry, help secure new clients and contracts and can even lead to job offers. The more you network, the more opportunities you will encounter as a result. Here are a few tips on how to proceed.

Change your mindset

According to Harvard Business School graduate and bestselling author Samantha Ettus, while many women are intimated by the idea of networking, the term is really just a fancy word for helping – something that most women consider themselves to be great at. By reframing the term and making it less intimidating, you may find it far easier to expand your range of contacts.

Be a connector

Introduce people to one another whenever you can – not just colleagues and business associates but also friends and neighbors. You never know what joint interests two sets of people who have never met might turn out to have, so be someone who fosters and encourages those potential connections at every opportunity.

Take up golf

Golf has long been associated with success in business thanks to its ability to provide extended time with colleagues, clients and prospects. Despite this, only one in five of the U.S. golfing population are female – a figure that has remained largely unchanged for decades.

Surveys carried out by the Executive Women Golf Association show that those who do play agree that the game provides great opportunities to get to know people and can help develop new business relationships.

Whether you choose to become a member at a small, local club or take advantage of the enhanced facilities available at one of the best golf courses in Naples, you’ll reap great benefits. This notion is supported by studies that have found that one of the biggest impediments to reaching career goals is exclusion for informal networks such as those that exist within the world of golf.

Get out of your comfort zone

Take the time and effort to introduce yourself to people who you do not know in order to build the kind of relationships that will enable your career to flourish. Develop the necessary confidence to do this even if you are the only woman in the room.

Always remember that the best networking opportunities are often the most unexpected ones so be prepared. Have a good supply of business cards so you can swap details with all those you meet professionally.

Target key people

If you know in advance who is going to be at a particular event and someone who you especially want to connect with is attending, don’t leave until you have spoken to them. If this is someone you particularly admire, telling them this is a great opening line. After all, a little flattery never hurt anyone. Although your primary efforts may revolve around elevating other women, you should also be networking with men when the opportunity presents itself.

Thanks to Lauren

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