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Networking is such a bad word. It’s void of emotion, and it’s been so run into the ground that many people roll their eyes at hearing it.

Yet the core of networking remains a vital part of any business owner’s business and marketing plan. Networking introduces you to people who can help expand your brand or bring your business something. That can be money, more clients, a better marketing strategy- networking is full of possibilities!

So if networking if vital, you want to be good at it- even if the word itself turns you off. Here are three things good networkers have in common that you can adopt for yourself.

They Ask Questions

No one likes the person at the event who can only talk about themselves. Or worse, the person you can tell isn’t listening to you, but just waiting for their chance to talk again.

Good networkers ask questions of the people they’re talking with. They are engaging and lively conversationalists.

Remember, why are you going to events and parties? To meet people. And who do people want to meet? Fun, interesting people who they will enjoy talking to. Next time you find yourself with a person you want to connect with, ask them questions.

They Change the Venue

Going to a large networking event is only one way of networking. And frankly, it’s a little played out at this point. Good networkers know that sometimes the best way to connect with someone is over lunch or going on a walk. Mixing up how you meet and talk to people will make you stand out in their minds, as well as give them a chance to mix up their day.

They Keep Their Networks Warm

It’s easy to think of networking as something that only takes place in person. But today, you can be networking online at any time.

Send an email to someone that you admire and mention that you love a specific piece of their work. Comment on someone’s social media post. Post an update on Facebook or LinkedIn and ask for feedback, giving people a chance to approach you.

Keeping your network warm is something that many people overlook and it’s a huge waste. You don’t meet someone once and then pump them for help. You want to give as much as you get. Stay in touch with people throughout the year and over time, you’ll find that each relationship you invest in will invest in you.

Don’t let networking become a bad word in your mind. It can be fun and incredibly helpful if you do it well. use these tips to upgrade your networking skills and watch the difference that it makes in both your network and your work.