10 Most Valuable Networking Skills for Every Professional

10 Most Valuable Networking Skills for Every Professional

The best careers are built around the best networks. Great connections can provide you with learning opportunities, promotional opportunities, jobs, and more. The wrong connections, on the other hand, can drag your career down to their level of mediocrity. This makes it essential to develop strong networking skills so you can build the right network for your career.

In this guide, we will explore the most essential networking skills to develop for a successful career. We’ll also take a look at how you can develop each of these skills. If you need practical, step-by-step guidelines, you’re in the right place!

Essential networking skills for every professional:

1. A focus on building genuine, long-term friendships

The first thing you need to do is shift your mindset to focus on people, not opportunities. People can tell when you’re only approaching them for your own personal gain. You might get the specific thing you wanted, but they will remember your self-centeredness and be less likely to pass future opportunities on to you.

There are two key strategies you can use to develop this mindset:

Live in the moment. When you’re at a networking event, focus on being fully present. If you catch yourself thinking about future opportunities, notice the thought, then release it and shift your focus to what is happening around you. Practice doing this in your day-to-day life so it’s easier during networking events. You can also become better at this by developing a mindfulness meditation practice.

Create opportunities to learn about people outside of work. Ask people about their families, their homes, their hobbies. People love to talk about themselves, and experts love to talk about things other than their professional expertise. As you learn more about them, you will also find it easier to see people as more than the opportunities they provide—and that is when you create space for meaningful connections.

2. Active listening

Active listening is the act of fully concentrating on what another person is saying. This helps you retain information and fully participate in complex discussions. Active listening also shows people that you value their opinions and expertise.

The key here is to practice active listening all of the time, not just during conversations about work. Pay the same amount of attention to people’s stories about their personal lives as you do to their professional insights.

This shows them that you see them as people, not opportunities. You might also learn something interesting or find shared interests that can serve to deepen your relationships.

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This article was written by Dianna Gunn and originally published on CodeinWP.

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