As a business owner knowing how to network effectively is one of the most valuable skills you can acquire. Networking skills can be best described as the skills you need to have to maintain professional or social contacts. Networking is a crucial skill in sales environment, business development and several other industries. Networking skills are necessary to make and develop relationships with new contacts and promote something that is deemed of value.
Here is a list of the most important networking skills to have.
Strong Communication Skills
Communication is the act of exchanging information from one person to another person. It consists of speaking and empathising with other people to appropriately receive the message that the other person is sending and responding accordingly. When networking, communication is essential to develop and maintain relationships with others.
It is super important to make sure that you communicate in a friendly tone and remain approachable that way other people will feel comfortable talking to you.
Strong Public Speaking Skills
Public speaking is another essential skill to have it can help you become more comfortable if you find yourself talking to a group of people, particularly at a networking event. Even when you're just speaking with another person, one-on-one, public speaking skills can help you improve the way you articulate, helping the person you're speaking with better understand you.
Before giving a speech make sure that you have done plenty of preparation. If you fail to plan you are planning to fail. Make sure that you have developed a solid framework for your speech. Write down the topic, general purpose, specific purpose, central idea, and main points. Make sure to grab the audience’s attention in the first 30 seconds.
Another important networking skill is active listening. If you want to get other people excited about your business and any information you are sharing with them, you need to listen closely to everything they say to you and understand their needs and desires. Active listening consists of strong eye contact, nodding your head to indicate that you understand what the other person is saying and responding appropriately. Active listening also ensures you're able to ask the right questions to keep a conversation moving forward.
Having a strong ability to focus is a very important part of active listening. Focusing your attention on listening to what the other person is saying to you will allow you to develop a more genuine connection.
Having strong posture will allow the person you are interacting with to know that you are listening to them. An attentive listener often leans slightly forward or sideways whilst sitting. Other signs of active listening may include a slight slant of the head or resting the head on one hand.
Mirroring any facial expressions used by the speaker can be a sign of active listening. These reflective expressions can help to show sympathy and empathy in more emotional situations. However, by attempting to consciously mimic facial expressions, in a way that is not an automatic reflection of expressions can be viewed as a sign of inattention.
Social skills are the verbal and nonverbal skills that you use to interact with others. They include the words you use and also your gestures, body language and your personal appearance. It also includes friendliness, which conveys honesty and kindness. Portraying this will create trust and understanding, which can build a strong foundation for a new relationship when you're networking.
Having empathy and the ability to feel what another person is feeling is a very valuable social skill to have. Empathy skills are important for networking, as they make others feel that you understand and can relate to their emotions and experiences.