How fast you grow in your profession depends on the number of people you know and there is simply no debate against it. Networking is one skill that is of utmost necessity in today’s competitive world. It is like broadcasting your expertise and the more people thatknow about it, the better are your chances. You need to go out there, build the necessary connections and create opportunities instead of waiting for it. You may be an introvert or suffer from social anxiety, but there is no alternative to networking especially if you want to succeed in your profession.
And talking to people with the ulterior motive of personal gain does not have to be as difficult as it sounds. Just like any other skill, you can build it step by step, focus on one thing at a time and slowly broaden your horizon. The following 5 steps will help you to build your networking skills and expand your professional network. These are the basics on which you can improvise and continue to improve. Let’s start with the simplest and the most basic step that most professionals often overlook.
- Find a mentor or a coach
Learning a skill does not have to be a one-man job and you can always seek help to speed the process up. Find a mentor who can coach you through the initial days and give you tips to get rid of those butterflies. For instance, if you are pursuing a fashion designer course, one of your professors can be your mentor. He/she can also be from the work you join immediately after or a personal coach in an online video. The key is to find someone who will be in sync with your style of communicating and help you to overcome your inhibitions. You can always learn on your own but a little help will never harm.
- Get your hand on the guest-list beforehand
The prospect of meeting a number of new people can throw you off-guard. However, if you know exactly who all to expect, you can be mentally prepared to network. This step can help you even when you become an expert as you can research into the person with whom you want to communicate and touch on those topics during the meeting. Plus, you will know your priorities and won’t go on to talk to all. You may approach five people per event and keep things small and simple. It’s not about how fast you build your professional connections but how well you do it.
- Build the mindset that the conversation is not about selling yourself
That might be the ultimate motive but you cannot show that in your first few meetings. This is where most people go wrong where they jump to the part of advertising their skills. It can put the other person off and you will never hear from him/her back. Let the motive be last on your list and focus on getting to know the person more. The first meet should be about introducing each other, the next few can be about exchanging information on common interest and then comes the part of broadcasting your skills. Slow and steady will definitely win you the race.
- Make the habit of following up
And the best online fashion designing course will teach you the value of it. The process of networking does not end as soon as you walk out of the doors. Nor should you wait for your next meeting. Make following up a habit which will help you throughout your entire career. Connect on LinkedIn, send an email to express your gratitude for the conversation or discuss a common topic. You have to make sure that your name is not forgotten in a matter of days and you are the first person who comes to mind when an opportunity arrives.
- Keep practicing and find out new ways to network
Like networking itself, you should not wait for the social event to arrive when you can talk to people or hand out your business card. You must find out new ways to network. For instance, if you are going through the fashion designing course details of various colleges, you can post a query on a social forum about the best college to choose. You will get answers from a lot of people with whom you can connect. Similarly, you can reach out to professionals over social media over a common hobby and build your network from there. Everything works as long as you build the required connection.
Every course in top education institutes like K R Mangalam University has dedicated sessions for building your networking skills. Be it fashion designing or management, your professional network will decide your success rate. The better opportunity, the higher post, all go to that person with the maximum connection. So, build your power of communication and grow like no other.