Networking is all about connecting. Build relationships and reputation around trust and practice good communication skills whenever you are connecting.
The 5 B's of networking
Be likable: Say something interesting about yourself to connect with others.
Be brief: Prepare something concise to say in introductions.
Be social: Keep it relevant to the other person.
Be positive: Smile and listen (takes your mind off of your own problems).
Be thankful: Practice an attitude of gratitude.
There are many reasons for communicating in social and business situations. In fact, it is easy to neglect good communication skills in social situations, thinking we can say what we want, how we want, without thinking about the consequences. In reality, everyday communication has a profound effect on our business interactions for three reasons:
1) most employment and business opportunities come through social networks, whether directly or indirectly;
2) good communication is practiced in social situations—you don’t suddenly become a good communicator when you meet with an employer or customer; and
3) customers and employers often see your everyday communication in emails, on social media, and in conversations.
Your life and work are so intertwined that they cannot be separated. although the content and style of your conversation will differ depending on the situation, you can’t really separate the two; often the most important business interactions are in social environments.
You meet new people while shopping, at work, at gatherings, business events, and family gatherings. What kind of impression are you making? Are you connecting or just passing by? Whenever you make that connection with another person, you are networking.
Networking is not selling. It is showing you are a person worth doing business with.