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How to network effectively

network effectively

What are the best ways to network effectively? Our guide gives you practical strategies that work easily, even if you are just starting out in your career or business.

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Networking opens doors and often makes it easier to find a job. Although networking is not the only key to success, contacts are a resource that should not be underestimated.

4 strategies to network effectively

  • When new contacts are made, it is important to maintain them. A simple option for this is networking via social media. It can be tempting for people to take a closer look at your profile on a social network to learn more about you. It is therefore important to pay attention to the individual self-presentation online.
  • It is recommended for students to build up a network while still studying. During this time, new people like fellow students or lecturers are automatically met without much effort. Maintaining these contacts can prove to be particularly useful when starting your career later, as networking is the best way to job hunt.
  • If you are interested in a specific job, an option is to approach people who are employed by the current employer in this position. To skilfully expand the network, one can ask at the end of the conversation whether the conversation partner could introduce you to someone else. Most people are happy to provide information. The big hurdle is just the inhibition threshold to approach someone and ask for information.
  • Good preparation is important. Before a meeting, you should carefully consider which questions you want to ask. It is also useful to know which topics the conversation partner is familiar with. This ensures that a conversation becomes informative and takes you further. 

How do you cleverly start and end a networking conversation?

Events or job fairs are ideal places to network effectively. Interesting people can easily be met at such events and asked for their business card. So you can ask them for a meeting later. Often, the most difficult part of a conversation is to speak to someone in the first place. Saying goodbye and gallantly ending a conversation can be just as challenging.

3 tips on how to start a conversation:

  1. To break the ice, you can introduce yourself to someone by name, job and place of work and ask a suitable question. “My name is Ellen and I work in marketing at XY. The new regulations recently really challenged me, did you also have to deal with them? “
  2. For example, when a trade fair is visited, many people are traveling alone. In this situation, you can join someone to visit the different stands. “Have you already visited the marketing stand? I am currently making my way there and would be happy if you would join me. “
  3. You can ask for advice or a tip. “You work for YX, right? I am very interested in its activities, what is it like to work there? ”Questions about the event are also welcome. “I have not yet attended this event, do you have some tips for what to expect?”

3 suggestions how to end a conversation:

  1. At a trade fair, acquaintances can be offered your business card when they say goodbye. “I was very happy to speak to you. I now have to visit a booth. If I shouldn’t find you here anymore, I very much hope to meet you again at the next event. ”
  2. A short conversation is often not enough to benefit sustainably. It is therefore important to exchange contact details. “I have to continue now, but I would be very happy if we could finish this conversation in peace. How about we exchange phone numbers to arrange a meeting? “
  3. If the interlocutor works in the same area and attends similar events, another encounter is likely. “I was very happy to meet you. You are also interested in XY and I would like to take part in a trade fair on this topic next month. Are you interested in joining me? ” 

The 2×2 Networking Challenge

Would you like to plunge into networking but don’t have a specific plan? Then take on the “2 × 2 Networking Challenge”: meet every month with two people who you already know but would like to get to know better. Make an appointment with two completely new acquaintances. If you master this challenge, you have expanded your network by 24 people within one year and strengthened the relationship with 24 existing friends, colleagues or family members. 

If you are looking for a special challenge, you can also extend the 2 × 2 Networking Challenge to a 4 × 4 Challenge. In addition to a stronger network, you also gain valuable experience in building relationships. Practice creates masters!