10 Tips for Successful Business Networking

From small business owners to executive-level leaders of large companies, professionals who are serious about growing their influence make business networking one of their core skills.

Building relationships with others in your industry – and even outside of it – can expand your world to include new experiences, knowledge, and opportunities. Organizations also benefit from the time employees invest in pursuing connections in their field and community.



  1. Know Your Goals
    Your interest in attending meetings and functions won’t last long if you don’t have a clear understanding of why you want to network.
  2. Be Open-Minded
    Don’t limit yourself to groups just within your industry or field of work. Pursue what interests you. Try out more than one group before narrowing it down to one or two – most will allow you to visit twice before asking for a commitment.
  3. Follow-Through Quickly
    Did someone send you a referral? Don’t let it languish, despite any skepticism you might have about its value. Part of being involved in a professional network is behaving professionally. Respond quickly when you receive help of any kind, including your thank-you note to the person who is sending the help your way.
  4. Be Genuine
    No one wants to work with someone who’s wrapped up with “what’s in it for them”—but neither do they want to work with someone who’s faking it to make it in their industry. While you’re networking to build your business or increase your influence, you can only go so far on charm. Be yourself and make it a personal experience.
  5. Give Back
    Kill two birds with one stone by combining your expertise with a cause you care about—consider volunteering on a project for a non-profit or community organization. Most NPOs can’t afford to hire people like you, even on contract. Whether you join a project or a board, you’ll raise your recognition – just remember #4.
  6. Get One-On-One
    If you limit your association with your contacts to group meetings, you’ll be staying in the shallow end. Dive in deeper by calling specific members of your group to schedule lunch or coffee one-on-ones with them. Most will be flattered to find out you appreciate their opinions and ideas and want to know more about their experience.
  7. Be a Resource
    Build on your new relationships by offering to help – and not just as an empty gesture. Have your healthy boundaries, but this is also no time to silo your skills and experience. If your attitude is centered on what you can contribute, you’ll develop a reputation for collaboration and become an influencer.
  8. Know What You Need
    Don’t get stuck for a response when you’re inevitably asked how someone can help you. Your new connections will be great potential resources for new ideas, more connections, industry information, and other opportunities. Remember #1.
  9. Ask Open-Ended Questions
    Networking is all about either starting conversations or adding a valuable voice to an existing one. You won’t get very far by asking questions easily answered by a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Begin your questions with who, when, where, what, how, or why to get a little deeper.
  10. Know What Makes You Different
    A concise inventory of you and your company’s unique accomplishments and approach will prepare you to speak about what you do and what makes you stand out from others who do similar work.

One last bonus tip: Keep at it. If you make networking a priority, you’ll reach and sustain worthwhile momentum that will be important when you need your network most. For the best networking tips for business owners and executive leaders, contact PsychPros.[/two_third_last]

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