Business networking tips: Take the relationship to the next level
Written by Sameer Kamat
Business networking in the corporate world is an important skill to pick up, if you want to go beyond your technical roots.
Ipseeta Aruni, an Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee graduate, started a series on soft skills in business. In the first post she wrote about how to network and build relationships for corporate success. Read that first to know who Mr. EasyConnect and Mr. PureBiz are. The second one in the series takes it to the next level.
How to take the corporate networking relationship to the next level
Ice-breakers come and go, what remains with you are memories of a person who really connects with your deepest desires and values. We have already seen how Mr. EasyConnect carved a niche in Mr. PureBiz’s memory.
Once you have gotten past the initial communication gap, it’s time to get on full throttle to make the relationship a meaningful one. Nothing works as good as a social network in this case nor does it take much to invite a person in the virtual space to share some aspects of your life with (but only the relevant ones). So it’s essential to have privacy options enabled.
But beware, this method may backfire. There are other people who maybe trying to connect with you for not purely selfless reasons and exposing personal facts makes you vulnerable to their advances. You should make sure you are able to distinguish between the well-wishers and the schmoozers.
Next step to firmly establish your credentials is to use the networking platform to build your brand. Broadcast only the stuff that you think will win you brownie points in terms of credibility, restrict non-sensical posts only to your closest friends. Your posts should be structured such that you come across as an information resource. After all, information is key.
It’s easier to stand out when you pay true heed to your abilities and express willingness to take them to the next level. For instance, if you are an amateur guitarist, take a chance and perform at a nearby pub. It may take some amount of dedication to get over the initial inertia but it’ll definitely be worth it once you get started.
The above works for connecting with people who you would rarely meet in person again. Otherwise, it becomes a lot easier. Stay informed on who’s who of the organization. Take a sneak peek at their profiles on the company website. Keep track of organization updates regarding restructuring, new initiatives and formal awards. You never know who you are gonna bump into while waiting for the elevator or standing in queue at the cafeteria.
It would be more than a pleasant surprise for someone to have a stranger walk up to them and congratulate them on their new achievement. And then when you introduce yourself, it suddenly dawns on them that you have met before. And there goes the inertia bumped off by the momentum sprung by your surprise pitch. Now you are in safe waters. You can bank on the relationship to be pegged at this level of trust no matter what.
Another surefire way to up your visibility in the corporate world is to be on the trusted list of a super-connector. Ferret out those individuals who seem to know the right people and who go out of their way to connect. By doing so, you have bridged atleast one degree of separation from most of the key figures on the workfloor.
A great way to connect with such people may be an office party or over lunch or coffee. Take a little more time than usual at the coffee machine to look around and scan the area for any potential super-connectors. If you are lucky enough to find one and better still if they are alone and seem approachable, walk across and extend a hand and a warm smile. Tell them who you are, what you do and how you came to know about them. Nothing works better than coffee when you are trying to forge a bond. So take the bull by the horns and ride it to victory.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of staying informed. The key is to read the relevant magazines, use the information to stretch your imagination, enhance your skillset and project it to your network. Your network only becomes stronger if you constantly feed it with the right inputs. If you are not considered an asset, your network withers away.
The trick is to constantly focus on improving yourself and use your skills to help someone else out of a sticky spot. It maybe a trivial thing like helping someone invest in the share market but there’s always the promise of it reaping high returns. What goes around does come around. The better your image is, the stronger your connections become. All you have to do is project the image and never ever give up.
Ipseeta is an electrical engineer by education, she loves exploring concepts and technologies that aim at drastically improving the performance of current software technology. She has numerous research papers to her credit. She is leading an initiative to redesign the website for Aarambh, an NGO based in Mumbai, to help generate more sponsorships and donations.
Read her 3rd and final article in the series – Business networking tips: Keeping the relationships warm.