We all know networking is beneficial for a variety of reasons, including exploring a new career or looking for a job; expanding your referral base; and keeping you in touch with your industry.
But there is more to networking than just showing up and giving out your business card. Here we talk about some strategies for networking that will help you expand your social circle and access otherwise inaccessible people.
Networking Tip #1
Go to events you are excited to attend. This great 49 second video illustrates why: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ehWlVeMrqw.
Networking Tip #2
To overcome shyness, just keep going to events. The only way to overcome fear is to face your fear over and over. Also, survey the room before you start talking to people; get acquainted with where the food is, the drinks, the restrooms, the “connecters” (those people everyone wants to talk to). You will be more comfortable if you are familiar with your surroundings.
Networking Tip #3
Do not be the “humping puppy.” Many people go to networking events with the goal of collecting as many contacts or business cards as possible. Instead, your focus should be to have two to three really quality conversations with people. Always ask people about themselves and their business before telling them about yours. Two great questions to ask are, “what are you working on right now in your business?” and “what is your biggest challenge right now?”
Networking Tip #4
Follow up right away, within a week of the event. Have a follow up system that includes a handwritten note, a phone call, an email or note, a one-on-one appointment, and if necessary, further follow up steps such as pop by’s and sending items of value.
Above all have fun and remember the law of reciprocity: help others in a genuine way, and others will help you. Everyone likes people who are helpful, so attend events with a giving attitude and watch what happens and who you meet.
What about you?
Do you have any great tips that have worked? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!