How useful are meetups for business networks

Networking: Why you should make and maintain contacts

Social contacts are important, both in private and in the professional world. However, many people struggle with goal-oriented networking on the job. However, working people should be active in networking. We explain why in the following article - and give useful tips on how to establish and maintain professional contacts.

Good reasons for networking

"Build up a professional network!" This tip is one of the general points of career advisors. But why is networking so important? Studies show that professional success does not only depend on performance, but also on personal contacts and advocates. So around a third of all posts is over forgive personal relationships. This applies to all experience levels.

Career starters benefit from contacts if they are looking for attractive employers or want to get to know an industry. Self-employed or founders find clients, business partners or investors via networks. For Mid-level employees Networking is often used for professional advancement or professional exchange, and also Executives initiate joint projects through their networks or find a new position. As different as the motivations for networking are, all groups have the following aspects in common.

Nice to meet you personally! "

In our digitally networked world, contacts can be easily maintained via the Internet, apps, e-mail and social networks, all over the world. Still, working people should Effect of personal encounter never underestimate. Face-to-face conversations are remembered longer than the - often non-binding - exchange via professional social networks such as Xing or LinkedIn. The virtual initiation can be a very helpful first step in opening a conversation when meeting in the analog world. An introductory sentence could be: “Hello, we are networked at LinkedIn. Nice to meet you personally now! "

Networks open up new perspectives

Networking doesn't have to be about job opportunities in the first place. Contacts are also useful to find out what makes an industry tick, what companies are currently doing and what they are working on.

At the same time, virtual and personal networking is a good exercise, to become more confident. At first it may be difficult to contact and introduce yourself to influential people in an industry. After a few tries it will be easier. And even if you do not derive any direct benefit from an encounter: Personal discussions about career paths are usually so interesting that you can benefit from the experiences of others.

Honest interest

If you don't pretend, you will hardly have to expect rejection. The following attitude can therefore be helpful when networking: Show genuine interest in a person or a topic! And even if you do not receive an answer to your digital contact initiation, you should not be discouraged. Because the restraint of your counterpart usually has nothing to do with you personally.

Analog networking - know where

What are the best places to network? In the virtual world, the answer is simple: the social networks. In the analog world, the answer is more difficult. It essentially depends on the purpose of the networking.

For example, is it about one Job entry, are Job fairs a good starting point. These take place regularly in larger cities, such as the Germany job fair in 21 cities. Trade shows are still your best bet if you have gain new clients or yourself exchange with colleagues want. Depending on the industry, meetings and conferences are also held on a regular basis.

For those rather general maintenance of contacts After-work events are well suited for no specific purpose. As a rule, things are a little more relaxed there than open Trade Showsso that it is often easier for you to start a conversation here. The digital marketing fair Demexco, the IFA in the technology sector or the real estate and investing fair Expo Real are particularly well-known. After-work events for your city and industry can be found in social networks, for example in Facebook groups.

The one that suits you Industry events can be found on LinkedIn and Xing, for example. Event notices on Facebook can also be very useful. There are also industry-specific events at the Professional and industry association websites. Here, for example, the pages of the IHK can provide information.

The Meetup website offers local groups on all kinds of topics. There are numerous events there, especially for start-ups and founders. Eventbrite also has a lot of business events. Tip: There you can also announce your own events. This can also be worthwhile for companies. Because as an organizer, you usually come automatically into conversation with many event visitors. And one more note: ask experienced colleagues, which events, fairs, conferences you should attend.

Networking tips from preparation to follow-up

Have you selected a suitable event and shortly before the appointment is you feeling a mixture of anticipation and nervousness? Don't worry, this is completely normal and will be the same for most of the other visitors. Breathe as calmly as possible and smile as often as possible - this also relaxes your body and mind.

How should you approach networking in concrete terms? The following tips will help you maintain contacts before, during and after an event.

1. Preparation

In preparation, put yourself in the position of a possible contact. What would he or she do after getting to know each other? Probably the same as you: enter the name of the other person on Google. The preparation therefore includes the following steps:

a) Update public social media profiles

Are you already registered with Xing and LinkedIn or are you using Twitter for work? Very good. If not, you should do so. Make sure you get your Maintain profile as continuously as possible and store your interests there. Above all, your profile picture should be up-to-date and serious. Because: There is a high probability that new contacts will google you. So check regularly, what appears under your name (it is best to search for it with and without quotation marks for more precise results for your name) on the first three pages. Also check out those Search results of the image search at. You should delete very old or even embarrassing photos as soon as possible. Keep in mind that social networks and Google will take some time to update the search hits.

b) Identify potential contacts

You can also use the Internet and social networks to prepare yourself for possible interesting conversation partners before an event. If you know what interests the other person or what they are looking for, it will be easier to start the conversation. Caution: Personal things such as marital status or hobbies that you may have found out should not be addressed. That can be daunting.

c) business cards

Are business cards still necessary in the digital age? Experts say: yes. The trend is moving more and more towards the premium variant. The handover of the card should underline the gesture of contact, and this is best done with high quality specimens possible, that will be remembered. Hence our tip: Do not hand the card to everyone with whom you have exchanged a few words, it may seem intrusive and usually do you little good yourself. However, if the conversation was stimulating and personable, you should definitely give your counterpart one of your beautiful business cards.

2. During the event

Basically, you shouldn't stick to networking, you should as playful as possible approach. Your goal is to make new contacts, but if your expectations are too high, you may tense up - and this can have a negative effect on the people you are talking to. Often times, the looseness is easier when you get off accompanied by a colleague become. Our tips for the event are:

a) Make a note of the name of your counterpart

Many people forget the name of the person they are talking to immediately after hearing it. Feel free to ask if you don't understand the name straight away, for example because of the noise level - this shows you are interested in the other person. Avoid the uncomfortable demand at a later point in time.

Do you have forget the name later, could you say, “Sorry, I just didn't get your name right. Could you please repeat it again? ”If you notice that the other person has forgotten your name, say it again to say goodbye.

b) Introduce yourself correctly

A good first impression is important in personal contact. And that starts with a good handshake, eye contact and an introduction by name. Then say in the style of an elevator pitch, what you do and what your goal is. Be as brief as possible. The elevator pitch is so named because you need to be able to accommodate your message while taking the elevator. You can come up with a few options in advance. Because if you have to tell a lot of people something about yourself, you may get bored quickly if you keep repeating your standard sentence - and the other person will notice that too.

c) The art of saying goodbye

One thing is clear: you will not stay in touch with every new contact you make. But you increase the likelihood that you will be remembered by skillfully saying goodbye. For example, say, “I was very happy to meet you. It would be nice if we could continue the conversation soon. "

3. Follow-up

Networking is only useful if it results in permanent contacts - and you should take care of them before you need them. But which hangers are suitable for keeping in touch? Register if possible soon after getting to know each other and make specific reference to the conversation. Send a short personal message when you contact us. Something like this: “Hello Ms. Müller, thank you again for the interesting conversation at the XY event. I would be delighted if we could deepen aspect XY on occasion. ”If the personal contact was about initiating a business, you can also ask for more information or an offer.

Stay relaxed and patient

Networking is not as difficult as it may seem at first. Stay relaxed and just look forward to learning about other people. Genuine interest in the other person is the best network strategy. And finally, a tip: Avoid obvious sales pitches. Networking is initiation - the real benefit comes later. In this respect, establishing and maintaining contacts primarily requires patience and perseverance.