Back to Course

On-line training for women e-entrepreneurs

0% Complete
0/0 Steps
  1. Module 1 What is entrepreneurship
    8 Topics
    1 Quiz
  2. Module 2 From idea to business
    7 Topics
    1 Quiz
  3. Module 3 Digital Marketing
    10 Topics
    1 Quiz
  4. Module 4 Business Networking
    6 Topics
    1 Quiz
  5. Module 5 Fund-raising & financing
    6 Topics
  6. Module 6 Presentation of an e-entrepreneurial project (pitch)
    3 Topics
    1 Quiz
  7. Annex
Module Progress
0% Complete

Networking can be stressing, but building a wealth of contacts is invaluable to your career and the business your company generates.

It is very important to know which are the basic skills you need to practice to become more effective at networking.

Communication is the act of exchanging information from one person to another. It involves speaking and empathizing with others to correctly receive the message that the other person is sending and responding accordingly. When networking, communication is essential to develop and maintain relationships with others.

Active listening:
Another important networking skill is active listening. To get people excited about your business and what you’re sharing with them, you need to listen to and understand their needs. 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 involves maintaining eye contact, nodding your head to show you understand what they’re saying and responding appropriately. Active listening also ensures you’re able to ask the right questions to keep a conversation moving forward.

The key here is to practice active listening all of the time, not just during conversations about work. 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.

The practice of active listening can be broken down into five steps:

  • Pay attention. Look directly at the speaker, release distracting thoughts, pay attention to body language, and resist the impulse to prepare your response while the other person is still speaking.
  • Show that you’re listening. Acknowledge the other person with nodding, facial expressions, and the occasional “yes” or “uh-huh”.
  • Provide feedback. Reflect on what the person has said and summarize what you believe they meant.
  • Defer judgment. Consciously push away your default assumptions. Wait until the other person has finished speaking before you form judgments. Don’t interrupt with rebuttals.
  • Respond appropriately. Be honest, respectful, and open.

Social skills:
These are the verbal and nonverbal skills that you use to interact with others. They include not only words but also gestures, body language and your personal appearance. It also includes friendliness, which conveys honesty and kindness. That, in turn, can create trust and understanding, which can build a strong foundation for a new relationship when you’re networking.

Public speaking skills:
Public speaking skills can help you be more comfortable if you find yourself talking to a group of people, particularly at a networking event. Even when you’re just speaking with another person, one-on-one, public speaking skills can help you improve the way you articulate, helping the person you’re speaking with better understand you.

Nonverbal communication:
Nonverbal communication is extremely important when networking. It’s important to be aware of your own body language and any messages you may be sending the person with whom you’re speaking. It’s also beneficial to be able to read the body language of the person with whom you’re speaking. This can tell you if you need to change the way you’re expressing your message or alter something else in your communication style.

Interpersonal skills:
These are often referred to as “people skills” and they impact the way you communicate and interact with others. They include a variety of skills, but particularly skills like communicating, attitude and listening.

Empathy refers to the ability to feel what another person is feeling. Empathy skills are important for networking, as they make others feel that you understand and can relate to their emotions and experiences.

One of the most effective ways to build strong connections is to do something meaningful for the people you want to connect with. This requires you to step outside of yourself and focus on what the other person needs. Use one of these strategies:

  • Pay attention.Follow the person on Instagram and Facebook. Subscribe to their blog, podcast, or YouTube channel. When influential people need something, they often turn to these channels first in the hopes of getting their needs met by someone in their fan base. This can provide the perfect opportunity for you to reach out with an offering.
  • Is there something this person has always wanted to do or see that you can help them with? Do they often do a certain type of collaboration? Is there some way you can help them improve their online presence? Something you can do for their business?
  • Remember their humanity.Everyone has the same basic needs. Food, water, sleep, socialization. Look for ways to help people meet these needs. This is particularly powerful at physical events, where you can offer to get a person a drink or bring them snacks. 

A positive attitude is another important networking skill, as others are drawn to those with a friendly, positive demeanor. Positivity can help you develop a strong rapport with others quickly and, in general, help you to be more instantly likable and memorable.

Language has a huge impact on how we see the world. Therefore, it stands to reason that the language you use will influence how people perceive you. If you constantly use negative words and phrases, people will think of you as a negative, possibly even defeatist person. On the other hand, if you use positive language, people will see you as a positive person, always ready to tackle new challenges.

The use of positive language is particularly important in text communication, where you don’t have body language to help convey emotions. For example, take a look at these two sentences:

“I recently discovered your work in the WordPress sphere and am writing to invite you to participate in an interview on my podcast.”

“I am a huge fan of your work, and I would love to have you on my podcast to discuss WordPress.”

Both of these sentences convey your intentions, but only the second one really conveys your enthusiasm. And that enthusiasm is what makes people want to respond. Whenever possible, use overtly positive language to display that enthusiasm.

Confidence can benefit every area of your life, but it has a particularly powerful impact on your networking efforts. If you are offering something to someone, you need to demonstrate confidence in your ability to provide that something. Even if all you’re doing is introducing yourself, people want to see that you are confident in who you are and what you do.

Unfortunately, for many of us confidence is also one of the most difficult networking skills to develop. You can, however, build confidence through the intentional use of these strategies:

  • Use affirmations. These are positive phrases about yourself, such as “I am good at my job”. You can say them out loud or write them down. Repeat your affirmations every day, either in the morning or before bed.
  • Care for your physical appearance. Even when you’re working from home, take the time to shower, wash your hair, and wear something professional. You want to be able to look in the mirror and say “now there’s somebody who is prepared to do a great job!”

The ability to cope well with feedback and rejection:
This could be considered an aspect of confidence, but it is important enough to discuss on its own. Negative feedback and rejection are inevitable side effects of putting yourself out there. You need to be able to respond professionally and move on to the next opportunity.

This skill can’t be learned from a textbook or a blog post, but there are some things you can do to make dealing with feedback and rejection easier:

  • Prepare a standard response. Create a stock phrase, like “Thank you for noticing, I will consider your points in the future”. You can then turn to this phrase any time feedback or rejection leaves you feeling flustered. This allows you to respond professionally even if the comment does hurt emotionally.
  • Separate yourself from your work. Many people fall into the trap of thinking that their productivity and their worth are the same thing. To be able to accept professional rejection, you need to create some separation between yourself and your work. This can be done by enforcing strict boundaries between your work and your home life and pursuing creative hobbies outside of work.

Networking should be a constant part of your life, not something you only do when you are actively looking for professional opportunities. In fact, your focus should be on building a network before you need a professional opportunity.

The good news is that there are regular events for professionals in almost every industry. The best events are often held in person, but there are also many events held online. Find two or three events you can attend every single month and make them permanent dates in your calendar.

Another good way to build networking into your schedule is to block off some time each week for reaching out on social media. The key here is that you must use this time on social media to reach out to specific people. Comment on their posts, share their content, maybe even send them a private message to ask about something they’ve created. Limit yourself to these interactions so you’re not wasting time.

Finally, you want to make sure that you set aside time to strengthen old relationships. Once a month or even once a week, get together with colleagues on a conference call or over lunch. Reach out to say happy birthday or wish folks well over the holidays. Remind people that you exist.

Email etiquette:
Regardless of how you meet people in your network, communications will eventually turn to email. You want to make sure your emails look professional and express any information you share in the correct way. Email etiquette varies from one industry to the next, but there are some basic rules you should always follow:

  • Use a clear, direct subject line
  • Use a professional email address
  • Use positive, professional language
  • Proofread everything
  • If you’re unsure of the exact meaning of a word, look it up before you include it
  • Resist the urge to use emojis
  • Only use “Reply All” if it is absolutely necessary
  • Use BCC to protect others’ privacy where appropriate

Mention any attachments, and the purpose of said attachments, within the body of the email

You also want to let your connections set the tone of your communications. If a colleague uses less formal speech in their responses, you have the option to also use less formal language.

A solid elevator pitch:
An elevator pitch is a short pitch, one that you would be able to deliver in the time it takes to share an elevator ride with someone. In other words, this is one or two sentences that you can use to get people interested in what you do.

The key to writing a good elevator pitch is to focus on the emotional core of what you do, not the functional details. You can see how this works when you compare these potential pitches for my freelance business:

“I am a freelance SEO writer and consultant who specializes in working with WordPress-based blogs.”

“I write content that ranks well on Google and converts readers into customers.”

The second pitch doesn’t mention anything about WordPress or consulting, but it conveys a higher level of confidence in my work. This pitch also reminds people why they need an SEO writer: to improve their website’s ranking on Google. And it’s shorter than the first pitch, making it easier to deliver in a rush.

Your elevator pitch is something that will develop over time. Experiment with different phrases and ask for feedback on your pitch from trusted colleagues. Like most of the networking skills we’ve discussed, there is always room to improve your elevator pitch.

For more information: