The ability to network is an art, and being in a position to network is a gift. Not many women have access to people who can make a lasting impact in their lives, or who can give them value. So, if you find yourself in such a space, given such an opportunity, then it is wise to master such an art. Networking skills is a compulsory pill that the 21st century woman needs to take in order to achieve her full potential.
The following tips may come in handy in ensuring that you network right.
- Research – As a woman whose goal is to achieve a high degree of success in her career, you can’t be ignorant of other successful women or people who are worth knowing in society. For instance, how does a young accountant, network with Mosunmola Belo-Olusoga (Non Executive Chairman of Access Bank board) if she accidentally meets her in an elevator and does not know who she is? A lot of people have missed great opportunities because of a lack of knowledge.
- Keep a tab on events – The best places to network are events, where people are at their nicest (because no one knows who is who). It is your duty to get into such events, and pick a good sit in the front, near the space probably reserved for VIP’s. Your chances of getting a handshake that can start conversations are higher when you choose the right sit. Sometimes you need to pay for these events, but the access you get from it is worth every penny. However, there are also a lot of free ones that are quite impactful.
- Be presentable – You are an aspiring Business Owner, why not look the part. The phrase, fake it till you make it may sound cheap and lazy, but the truth is, it can be a strategy that you employ in getting the right attention. As long as you are not lying, and doing compromising things, I guess it’s great to dress the way you want to be addressed. Take an extra effort in picking the right cologne, use anti-perspirant, ensure your breath is fresh, brush your hair, and wear decent clothes (they don’t have to be expensive)
- Don’t be confrontational – It is important to respect the space of other people. Don’t say that because you are in the same room with some VIP, you are their mate. Even when they are friendly, treat the relationship with respect, and don’t just rush your needs into their ears. Remember, they don’t know you from anywhere, and their goal for being where you met them has nothing to do with you. So, don’t be pushy. Instead, give a compliment, offer assistance, and just impress them. Networking is like how a boy toasts a girl, so you might want to borrow that formula, and take it one step at a time. By the time you are done with them, they will wonder how it all began, and by then you have worked your magic.
- Have a plan – Networking starts before you get to the event, or stumble on someone worth networking with. You need to have a reason why you need this person’s attention, or else you will realize that having followed the first four steps and have gotten this great access, you ruin it because you didn’t have a good plan worth their time and attention.
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