What Separates the Best Networkers from the Rest?

22 Nov 2023

Networking is a fundamental skill in both personal and professional life. It’s not just about making connections; it’s about fostering meaningful relationships that lead to opportunities, collaborations, and personal growth. While many people dabble in networking, some excel, setting themselves apart. What makes these individuals stand out? We’ve outlined ten key differentiators that separate the best networkers from the rest.

1. Authenticity 

Good networkers are authentic in their interactions. They don’t view networking as a transactional exchange but as an opportunity to make connections on a genuine level. They are approachable, friendly, and are interested in getting to know people, not just what they can gain from the relationship.

2. Listening Skills 

One of the most significant traits of excellent networkers is their ability to listen actively. They pay attention to what others say, ask thoughtful questions, and show empathy. They are not simply waiting for their turn to speak but are engaged in the conversation.

3. Building Trust 

Trust is the foundation of any strong relationship. Good networkers prioritize building trust by delivering on promises, being reliable, and demonstrating integrity. People are likely to network with and refer opportunities to those they trust.

4. Offering Value 

Effective networkers don’t just take from their connections; they give back. They offer value in various ways, whether sharing knowledge, providing assistance, or making introductions to help others succeed. This generosity fosters a reciprocal relationship.

5. Consistency 

Networking is not a one-time event but an ongoing process. The best networkers consistently nurture their relationships. They stay in touch, follow up, and invest time and effort into maintaining connections, even when there’s no immediate benefit.

6. Being Proactive 

Passive networking seldom leads to substantial results. The best networkers take initiative by attending events, reaching out to potential connections, and seeking opportunities to expand their network. They’re not afraid to step out of their comfort zones.

7. Curiosity 

Curiosity is a hallmark of great networkers. They are genuinely interested in learning from others, exploring new ideas, and expanding their knowledge. Curiosity makes conversations more engaging and keeps networkers at the forefront of their fields.

8. Adaptability 

Networking often involves diverse individuals from various backgrounds and industries. The best networkers are adaptable and open-minded, able to connect with a wide range of people. They recognize that every person they meet has unique perspectives and potential value.

9. Effective Communication 

Strong communication skills are paramount in networking. The best networkers can convey their thoughts and ideas clearly and concisely. They can also tailor their communication style to fit the preferences of the people they’re interacting with.

10. Follow-Through 

Networking continues after the initial meeting. The best networkers follow through on their commitments, promises, and next steps. They demonstrate their dedication to the relationship by delivering on expectations.

What separates the best networkers is a combination of soft skills, attitude, and mindset. They focus on building authentic relationships, offering value, and nurturing connections over time. Networking is not just about collecting business cards or connecting on LinkedIn; it’s about forming lasting bonds that benefit both parties. 

Want to become a better networker and expand your network? Steel Plus Network hosts networking events across North America with industry experts and insightful structural steel professionals. Join Steel Plus Network today and capitalize on the benefits of connecting with our strong network.