If you’re like most people, networking intimidates you a bit. After all, it requires planning, active listening, strategic question asking, and the ability to focus on the other person rather than ourselves. However, networking doesn’t have to be challenging because it takes practice. Here are five ways you can become better at networking:

1 . Plan Ahead

It’s essential to know how you want to market yourself. Have a clear idea of how your skills and experience will benefit others, and communicate that in a way that doesn’t sound like bragging. Before you set off, ensure you know where it will be held and how long it will run. Also, check if there are any special instructions regarding attire. Next, research the attendees beforehand and see if anyone has areas of expertise that would be useful for your business. If so, make sure you reach out ahead of time, so they know who you are when they meet you.

2. Use Active Listening Techniques

Focusing on them and what they say is important when meeting new people. Avoid crossing your arms or looking distracted by your phone. When speaking to you directly, make eye contact with them and give them your full attention to feeling heard and respected.

3. Ask Strategic Questions

You don’t need to pretend that every person you meet is your new best friend, but approaching networking with an authentic desire to learn about people can help you find new ways to add value. Ask questions that will help you understand their interests, needs, challenges, and goals so you can figure out how to help them.

4. Be a Person of Value

If you want to make the best impression on those you meet, it’s essential to be a person of value when networking. A way to make yourself seem like a person of value is to offer your services and expertise freely, without hesitation. If someone asks for advice, don’t be shy about sharing it! Not only will this make them more likely to remember you as a generous person, but it also means that others will see that generosity and gravitate toward building relationships with you in the future.

5. Follow Up and Stay in Touch

By not following up with the contacts and business people that could give you opportunities in your field, you’re missing out on valuable connections, making it harder for you to get ahead. The hardest part of networking isn’t coming up with the idea for what to say when introducing yourself; it’s following through once you’ve introduced yourself. This is why it’s crucial to get over the awkwardness and keep in touch with the people who could help your career.

The idea of networking can be intimidating for some. However, it is crucial to get out there and network with others. This will help you find a job, learn new skills, and grow your overall network.