Entrepreneurial Network

Keep it real while business networking

Article by: Ms.Neeta Chavan, Director, BNI-Navi Mumbai

Being authentic is important. As we value the ability to be genuine, we will gravitate more towards those we see as being honest and true to themselves – regardless of whether their values align with our own. Being authentic brings respect because people know where they stand with you.

It’s essential to be genuine when building relationships in your professional network as people can sense when you’re not being authentic. If someone senses you’re not being genuine, it diminishes any trust you’ve established and spoils your reputation, which could prevent others from even considering connecting with you in the future.

Expose Your Vulnerabilities To Appear Authentic

It can be difficult to share parts of ourselves that we know will be helpful to others because it may make us feel exposed and vulnerable. However, by sharing stories and examples of our real challenges, our real feelings, and our vulnerabilities, we create a safe space for others to do the same. When we open up about the things that are difficult for us, we help others feel seen and understood. We also encourage them to open up and share.

Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance with solving a challenge

If you’re feeling stuck on how to solve a problem, don’t be afraid to reach out to your online network for suggestions. This act of vulnerability- sharing that you don’t everything can engage others and solidify trust. Your network will appreciate the opportunity to help you out, and you might be surprised at how valuable their insights can be.

Share as much is needed

Being authentic in relationships is important, but it’s important to also be aware of how much the other person wants to know about you. You can build good relationships by remaining sensitive to signs of encouragement and active listening from the other person.

Be genuinely empathetic and helpful

Networking is a two-way street when it comes to communication. If you’re only focused on what you can get out of the relationship from the very beginning, then you’re not going to come across as being very credible. Having an attitude of “Me first, my product & services first” is a definite way to turn people off. The key to networking is to listen to the other person and try to understand what motivates them, what their interests are, what’s holding them back, or what would help them move forward.

Show your company credentials

When presenting your company to individuals, it’s important to show them the company in the light that you want them to see it. This will help to set honest standards and guidelines for future business interactions. Common topics that are relatable to all entrepreneurs can be used as a way to make people feel more comfortable when discussing situations that may arise. By acknowledging these topics, you will be able to demonstrate empathy and understanding of the individual’s position.

Enhance your reputation

Networking has many benefits, but one of the most impactful ones is its ability to improve your reputation and profile within your industry. The more people see your face, learn your name, and know what you bring to the table, the more value you garner. Not only will this make it easier to get your foot in the door with new opportunities, but it will also give you a major boost when it comes to negotiations because people will know that you are well-liked and respected.

Visibility Sells

The more visible you are, the more likely people are to come to you when they need help with something related to your expertise. This is just one of the many benefits of networking – it gives you access to influential people with whom you might have always thought of networking but were not accessible. Yet being authentic helps as these influential people are usually already established, so they know how to spot good from a fraud.

Actualization of Efforts

Networking is a mutual activity where you exchange skills and ideas with others, but more importantly, it makes you a valuable resource to others. And when you can help someone else achieve their goals or provide them with insights, it is incredibly satisfying to you as well.

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