The following article is a guest post.
One of the most important practices in the modern business landscape concerns relationship management. From customer relationship management, or CRM, to group projects, teamwork is important to companies of just about every shape and size. Networking gives professionals the chance to build contacts within an industry and outside of a given field of expertise. Trade shows, self-help seminars, and business conferences represent a substantial opportunity for growth. Improving networking skills is possible with a few easy approaches.
1. Set Deadlines.
Setting deadlines in calendars is one way to commit to a resource. Many businesses already utilize deadlines for a variety of tasks. Following up with connections from a conference should be a matter of professional courtesy. Using a deadline for a contact on a weekly or monthly basis is just one way to keep in touch. After all, nobody can ever be quite sure when a relationship might come in handy.
2. Use Social Media.
The arrival of mobile Internet connected devices allows workers from all segments of a company to keep pace on developments. Specialized social media accounts, like GovNet and others, even offer steady reminders to keep in touch with contacts achieved at conferences and seminars. Many times these gentle reminders are all that is necessary to drive communication, which means they can be extremely valuable when used correctly.
Sharing information between contacts is one way that networking can pay huge dividends. If a salesperson encounters a need that a relationship can service, asking the customers permission to invite another expert into the fray makes good business sense. The process will pay off in the form of additional referrals as the collaborations grow. Teamwork does not necessarily have to exist inside a single corporate entity. Putting the network to use is the primary reason for the practice in the first place.
4. Offer Meaningful Conversation.
Too often professional contacts are greeted with email blasts or general updates. Making an effort to learn birthdays, spouse names, and other important details can make a huge difference in the process. Success can be one contact away, and massive sales gains can be an email away. Standing out from the crowd is possible with a few notes and some professional skills. Offering up meaningful conversation and communication that makes a difference is just one way to really drive a relationship to the next level. Enhancing the current position through a few emails is a very real possibility.
In the end, improving networking skills should be a priority for employees throughout a company. Not only can the process make a world of difference in personal growth, but it can produce friendships and relationships that last a lifetime. By offering meaningful conversation, offering collaboration, and using social media as an advantage, any type of worker can enhance networking skills. After all, those long hours away from friends and family at trade shows and conferences should produce meaningful gains and enhance personal development. By committing to the process, every worker can become a networking expert.