Networking and building good relationships are essential skills. But do you know how to properly network and connect? We often make mistakes when connecting with others, resulting in superficial relationships that are not beneficial for either party.
Here are five networking tips to help you make valuable, authentic connections—especially important for young professionals like you who are ready to meet and take on the working world!
1. Having the Right Mindset Is Crucial
Having the right mindset is one of the key factors to being able to establish good relationships with people you are trying to network with. When you first meet someone new, perhaps at your new workplace or a networking event, the first question that should surface in your mind should be “what can I offer this person?” and not “what can this person offer me?”.
This subtle difference in mindset can be crucial in establishing genuine and sincere relationships with others. Many individuals fail to lay a good foundation with others because they simply write off someone when they feel they do not have anything to gain.
It is also important to keep an open mind and be accepting of the comments and opinions of others. Do not be too defensive when someone’s idea is not aligned with yours. Try looking at things from a different perspective, and you might discover something new.
So make sure you tune into the right mindset before entering a new environment and meeting new people!
2. Give Before Receiving
We always hear the saying that we should “give without expecting anything in return”. The idea of this saying is to remind ourselves that we should put the other person before us and understand what we can offer others before thinking about what they can offer us.
Nobody likes someone who constantly takes and doesn’t give anything back. So don’t make the mistake of thinking that people should offer you something before you do something for them. Be sincere when giving. And gifts could be tangible things such as a relevant book, or intangible ones like compliments and moral support.
There will be times when you have to give a lot first before the other party reciprocates. Having the right mentality will help you understand that this is not an unfair situation, but perhaps it is not the right season for you to receive just yet.
3. Be Real, Be Yourself
One of the reasons people are unable to establish genuine and sincere relationships with others is because they are not being genuine themselves. We want to portray the best side of ourselves but not a facade of who we actually are. By being authentic, you will attract people who are the same.
By being real we don’t mean being rude and making snarky comments. It just simply means to be who you really are and not a false personality of yourself. Often, when individuals force themselves to be someone they are not, it usually backfires in the long run.
So be yourself, be real, and people will respect you for that.
4. Using the Real Words During Conversations
Another common mistake people make is not using the right or appropriate words to convey the message they want.
Compare the following messages:
- “No, you shouldn’t use the colour red for the background. Use blue instead because I think it looks better.”
- “Oh, personally I would prefer using the colour blue. But since you chose red, let’s see how it looks and maybe we could try one with a blue background and compare the two?”
Which message made you feel more accepting of the comment from another person? Most people would agree that the second message delivers more constructive feedback.
Both examples are conveying the same message but the outcome of it may be different. By shutting down the choice that someone has made, you are also shutting down their ability to listen and accept your opinion.
Pick your words wisely when conversing with others or when providing comments. The words you use play a huge part in how people react to your message.
5. Be Confident and Know What You Have To Offer
Be confident of your skill sets and what you can offer to others. The last thing you want to do when trying to connect with someone is to boast and end up not being able to deliver.
We often try to impress others by exaggerating our own abilities. This is an ill-advised move, as it can backfire when you fail to deliver on your words. Be confident with what you can do and be honest with what you can’t. People will appreciate your honesty more than your boasts.
You form strong relationships when you are able to fulfil what you promised to another person. It builds trust and credibility which is extremely useful when trying to network and connect with others. So know your abilities and limits before committing any promises to another person.
Remember, we are all learning something each day so it’s okay to not know everything all the time!
Special thanks to the contributing members of Introverts Network Asia for sharing their valuable knowledge and networking tips.
– Mervin Yeo (Founder of Introverts Network Asia)
– Remus Zhong
– Lee Hui Fang
– Imran Tahir
– Ashley Ella Choo