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Professional networking is essential, as studies show that it can lead to more opportunities, higher knowledge, and better performance and authority. It can also help employees feel valued and satisfied at work. According to studies, building strong professional relationships can improve work quality and increase workers’ satisfaction.

Connecting with like-minded individuals can help small business owners grow their network. While going to trade shows or industry events can be beneficial to connect with local firms, there are also plenty of opportunities to connect with other like-minded individuals.

Here are some essential networking tips to get you started.

Common Interests

Before you start networking, you must identify the goals and interests of the people you want to connect with. According to studies, people build long-lasting and collaborative relationships when they work together on projects that require their contributions.

Your networking should be driven by the shared interests you’ve identified through research. This will allow you to feel more authentic and connect with people with similar qualities.

Attend Networking Events

Getting started is the first step in building a successful network. Although many events can serve as networking opportunities, attending local business events is important to connect with professionals and small business owners.

Various events can be held in your city that can help you connect with like-minded individuals. For instance, the chamber of commerce in your town can host gatherings for professionals in your industry.

Follow Up

Adding to your network is only half the battle. It’s crucial to maintain a positive relationship with your contacts. Even if you’re not actively looking for a job, try contacting your contacts several times a year to keep the relationship going. You can also send an article or invite them to a conference or seminar.

Although networking is about what you’re doing, it’s also about what you’re not doing. This list will give you some strategies to avoid building a stronger network.

Know Your Worth

Even if you’re not interested in someone, you can still find something valuable to offer them by thinking outside the box. We’ve seen people who feel powerless due to their positions within their organizations or because they belong to a minority. They often think they have little to give and are unlikely to participate in networking.