10 Tips on Networking

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Know thyself, understand your energy level and mood going in.

Understand how you’re feeling prior to the event and if “not in the mood”, do what is needed to get IN the mood so that you can represent you and your organization well.

Set some goals of meeting people

A good networker always has goals, whether meeting specific people that they know are attending or meeting X amount of new people. It gets you started, it keeps you moving & you can feel that you accomplished something at the end of the event when you meet (or hey exceed!) your goal.

Have a name tag that is legible and can be seen.

People are more comfortable approaching someone where they can clearly see their name and company. It can start the conversation and makes it easier to remember the important stuff like who you are and who you represent!

Always have business cards.

Business cards don’t sell you or your business, but they do help people to remember you are and what you do and they of course give people that essential contact information. A good rule of thumb – ANYTIME you leave your house, you should have up to date business cards in your hand.

Go over to the person standing alone and introduce yourself. Always strive to meet new people.

First because they are available to talk, and also because chances are they’d be grateful in having someone “break the ice” (and isn’t that making a great first impression?) If you chat with them and know something they should know, connect the two. This IS what networking is all about, and you now have two people thinking good thoughts about you!

Have a good “elevator speech” about what you do and good follow up.

How do you answer “so what do you do”? It should be succinct, interesting and you know you succeeded when the person says, “tell me more”? People often focus on initial statement and ignore the follow up. And what happens is that you lose focus and could start babbling! How do you get out of that?….Just ask, “So enough about me, tell me what you do”.

Be enthusiastic about what you do and what you are doing now.

Keep your energy and enthusiasm up. If you mumble or by your tone of voice don’t sound too thrilled about what your doing, why would someone want to do business with you?

Listen, really listen, not just “not talk”

People often let other people talk, but then spend their time thinking about what they are going to say next, thinking about their favorite sports team or a show they are missing right now. Listening is really focusing on what the person is saying. We all have people that we love talking to because they really listen. Emulate them!

Remember to follow up.

Nothing kills a relationship faster than offering/promising to do something and not following through. Why would anyone want to do business with someone that doesn’t do what they said they would do? And if you didn’t promise anything, drop them a line telling them how nice it was to meet them.

Enjoy

This is a no-brainer. Networking and meeting new people, bumping into people you know should be a great, positive experience for you, both personally and professionally. So forget about the hard day at work, that networking is part of “the job”, and…..enjoy.

Join in and volunteer.

Become a part of a group. Volunteer at your local chamber whether on a committee or even as an officer. You meet more people and people want to get to know you! And that’s what it’s all about!