When it comes to networking, there’s a lot to know, and a lot to execute with surgical precision in order to most effectively expand your business’s reach. And, of course, your reach is directly proportional to your profit margin, so it’s critical that you invest the time, effort, and cold hard cash required to network effectively. Therefore, it behooves us all to invest our time, first, in learning a thing or two about networking. Learning the ins and outs of networking, from basic to nuanced, is the ideal place to start. After all, as they say, “a failure to plan is planning to fail.” Here are a few tips to help you network effectively.
First and foremost, networking is a largely social activity, so let’s start with social interaction in general. Of course, much of social interaction is conversation, so be sure to be a confident and competent public speaker. If you, like many Americans, have a phobia of speaking in public, there are courses available to help you better learn how to speak in front of an audience, which will certainly help you in one on one conversations, as well. However, the true benefit of these courses, in my humble opinion, is just the immersion therapy inherent in it. By simply facing your fears, you will almost certainly overcome them.
Next up, there’s the matter of your appearance. Most human communication is actually nonverbal, and this means a few important things. First and foremost among them is your appearance. First of all, you’re going to need to take care of your hygiene. This mostly goes without saying, but it’s important enough to warrant a reminder here. Then, there’s grooming. For a man in a professional setting, keep your facial hair neatly groomed or clean shaven, and keep your hair cut short and neatly coifed. Be sure to hide any piercings or tattoos you may have, as well. For women, many of these rules don’t apply.
Last, but not least, there’s the matter of dress. You want to appear professional, and this means having the right attire for your line of work. In most business professionals, this means some variation of “formal” attire. So, the apex is a suit, and various combinations of dress shirts, dress pants, and dress shoes constitute the rest. These are things you can typically find anywhere from JCPenney to Marc Jacobs, so finding the right items isn’t an issue. However, you’re going to need to put these items together into a cohesive whole in order to maintain the all important professional look.