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Successful Networking Comes from Developing Empathy

While it may seem like we need to focus solely on ourselves to become successful, evidence shows turning our eyes and ears toward others is, in fact, a better way to find personal and professional success! When we show that we understand and truly care about other’s emotions, our display of empathy translates into meaningful connections. Being empathetic to everyone you meet may seem like a task more fitting of a saint than the average person, but caring truly does pay off!

Empathy plays an important role in networking and making long-term professional connections. Consider these three strategies to develop empathetic networking:  

Stay Present 

Your attention and body language send a strong message to others. Whether you are at a networking event or a business lunch, stay focused on the person you are speaking to. Avoid distractions like checking your smartphone or watch. Maintain eye contact and practice active listening. This will enable you to ask questions that demonstrate your interest in the other person’s feelings, needs, and values. Make sure that everything about your presence conveys your openness and understanding. 

Change Your Mood

Next time you’re in a bad mood, try this experiment: force a smile on your face. Your mood will likely brighten as well! Just as much as your outward mood influences you, it affects others too. The positive energy you feel inside will extend out to your colleagues, team members, and clients. In order to maintain an upbeat mood, despite the stressors and difficulties you face, spend time with positive people as much as possible.

Keep in mind that your environment and physical health will have a major impact on your mood. It is important to fill our own cups, so that we can fill the cups of others. So take walks outside to benefit from fresh air and nature (even for brief periods of time) and practice healthy habits like balanced eating and regular exercise. 

Give to Others

When you meet someone you would like to connect with, approach your conversation in terms of what you can do for them. Our default is frequently to feel hopeful that the person we are speaking to will be willing to do something for us. In a networking setting, try to maintain the opposite mindset: focus on the ways that you can help the other person! If you maintain a giving attitude with both time and money toward others, you may be surprised to get back even more in return.

You will automatically become a better networker if you learn how to focus on helping others achieve their goals. If others know that you care, they will give the same attention and support to you in surprising and meaningful ways.

Want to improve your networking skills? Take time practicing reflection and communication techniques that help you develop empathy. To learn more ways to make long-term connections with people, visit our blog at