Building Lasting Connection: 10 Effective Ways to Improve Your Networking Skills

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Networking Skills

Improving Your Networking Skills

Networking is a powerful tool that can change the trajectory of your professional life when it comes to unlocking a world of new opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

By building strong connections within the STEM community, you gain access to mentors, role models, potential collaborators and job openings that you might not have discovered otherwise. These connections provide invaluable support and guidance, helping you navigate the often male-dominated field of STEM.

Improving your networking skills also allows you to share your own knowledge and expertise, contributing to the advancement of your chosen field while breaking down barriers and inspiring the next generation of female STEM leaders. So, don’t underestimate the significance of networking – whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting in your career, it’s the key to building valuable connections that can benefit you in various aspects of life.

10 effective ways to improve your networking skills

1. Set Clear Objectives

  • Before diving into any networking event or endeavour, set clear objectives. Networking is not merely about attending events or meeting people; it’s about purposefully and strategically connecting with others to achieve specific goals. Ask yourself what you want to achieve. Are you looking for potential job opportunities, seeking mentors or expanding your social circle? Having specific goals will help you focus your efforts and make meaningful connections.

2. Be Genuine

  • Authenticity is key in networking. It’s the quality that helps you create genuine, meaningful interactions rather than superficial or transactional exchanges. To embody authenticity, it’s important to be yourself and share your true interests and experiences. Connections emerging from these conversations will be built on genuine mutual interest, making them the bedrock of successful networking. They can lead to collaborative opportunities, personal growth and a more fulfilling network of connections.

3. Active Listening

  • One of the most crucial aspects of effective networking is active listening. To excel in active listening, pay close attention to the words, tone, and body language of your conversation partner while also expressing your interest in their stories, experiences, and perspectives. This not only benefits the person you are engaging with but also enriches your own experience, as it allows you to glean valuable insights, knowledge and new perspectives.

4. Elevator Pitch

5. Attend Networking Events

6. Online Networking

7. Nurture Existing Relationships

  • Effective networking is not just about creating new connections but also maintaining and nurturing existing ones. In the long run, these relationships can lead to a myriad of opportunities, such as job referrals, collaborations, mentorships and even lifelong friendships. Regularly check in with your contacts, offer help when you can and show appreciation for their support.

8. Develop Your People Skills

  • Developing your people skills is an essential and often underestimated aspect of successful networking. While exchanging business cards or connecting on social media is a typical starting point, the true essence of networking lies in building genuine and lasting relationships. Invest time in developing skills like communication (We have 10 tips for you!), empathy, and emotional intelligence. These qualities will make you a more attractive and effective networker.

9. Volunteer and Give Back

  • Volunteering and actively contributing to your community represent a multifaceted opportunity within the realm of networking. Beyond the inherent fulfillment that comes from giving back, engaging in volunteer activities can be a powerful means of meeting new people and forging meaningful connections. Additionally, it showcases your dedication to social responsibility, which can serve as a valuable asset in the world of networking.

10. Follow Up

  • Following up with your new contacts after a networking event or meeting is an essential step that can significantly impact the strength and longevity of the connections you’ve established. Send a thank-you email or connect with them on LinkedIn to express your interest in continuing the conversation and provide a brief summary of your discussion. This simple gesture can help solidify the connections you’ve made.

More opportunities

Improving your networking skills is an ongoing process that can lead to countless opportunities in your personal and professional life. By setting clear objectives, being genuine, actively listening and utilizing both in-person and online networking, you can create a strong and valuable network of connections.

Read to get out there and build meaningful connections? Explore our event listings for upcoming chances to engage with SCWIST and expand your network.

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