The Top Ten Networking Skills



In today’s financial climate, building and sustaining revenue is critical for the success of both small and large business.  Finding new clients is a pointless and expensive exercise smart business people work their networks to mine the rich relationships they already have in business.

Research at the US Shyness Institute reveals that around 60% of people in business have difficulty introducing themselves and engaging in meaningful conversation with other people at business functions.  As BNI members we know that networking skills can be learned and utilised to make this easier.  Interestingly a recent Harvard Business Review study concluded that networking skills will help organisations large and small find and capitalise on business opportunities.

So what are you waiting for?  Get out there and network!

Hang on before you go, perhaps you should read what the Top Ten networking Skills are and make sure you have them all before you set out.

The Top Ten Networking Skills

  1. Have a Plan:  Great connections don’t just fall in your lap, you have to plan activities and use your time wisely to access the best networking opportunities.
  2. Get Strategic: Not all networking events are worth attending, make sure you get strategic about how and where you spend your time.
  3. Understand Your Personal Style:  Networking is easier for some people than others, make sure you know your behavioural style and how to relate to others who aren’t like you.
  4. Engage In Meaningful Conversation:  Having cheap surface level conversations will never lead you to business like a real and meaningful conversation can.  Take your time, talk and listen carefully to those around you.
  5. Develop Deeper Relationships:  Once you identify a worthy business prospect take the time to build a deeper relationship before you even begin to think about asking for a sale.
  6. Assess opportunities:  Cut short your conversation if you assess that the person you are talking to is not in your target market.  It’s OK to be mercenary when you are networking, remember you are doing this for you, not them!
  7. Showcase Your Expertise:  Make sure you take the opportunity to showcase your skills and expertise, without appearing to be a “boorish know it all”.  There is a fine line between information and skiting.
  8. Create Value:  Create value for the people you meet and find a reason to help them.  Remember the best way to get a referral is to give one first.
  9. Follow Up:  After you have left the function, remember to follow up, send the article you promised, connect that person with your friend or whatever.  Maybe just send a hand written note saying, it was nice to meet and spend some time with you.
  10. Thank People:  Finally, take the time to thank those people that help you.  Often people are happy to take and forget the most important part giving thanks.

These Top Ten Skills will help you achieve better outcomes at your next networking event.  Take the time to lean them and put them into practice and then reap the rewards.

© Lindsay Adams 2013.  All rights reserved.

Article written by the Lindsay Adams National Director of the Referral Institue

Lindsay Adams National Director, Referral Institute The Referral Institute is a training and consulting company that specializes in working with business owners and sales people to help them develop referral their marketing vision, plans and goals, before they go to BNI to take action.  Find out more at www.referralinstitute.com.au or email Lindsay directly at Lindsay.adams@referralinstitute.com.au 

Categories : Networking


  1. I’m a BNI member in New Zealand and as Lindsay points out here, it is too easy just to go through the motions of networking without actually achieving anything for your business!

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