It’s all about your network. Today more than ever, success in business and in life is more about who you know than what you know. Making good connections with leaders in your industry and in your organization requires networking. And not just any networking—but good, positive, productive networking.
Today, I’m going to lay out five business networking tips you can use—commit to memory when you attend an event and make your networking time great time.
This should go without saying, but you wouldn’t believe how many times I see people who don’t have business cards or other pertinent material available at these events. Note I said available and not “lugging it around with you”. If you have brochures or other information, if you meet someone who would like that, go out to your car and get it. Keep a pocket full of business cards and a small pocket notebook to make notes.
Again, if you’re there, be there. Focus on that event and not what you have to do tomorrow or later. Give the event your full attention. Get involved. Meet people and let them know who you are, what you do and how to reach you. Enjoy the event and if you are prepared (as discussed above), you’ll come out of it with far more than you would ever believe.
Don’t sit back and wait for people to come to you. Introduce yourself. Introvert or extrovert, you need to get out and meet others. That’s what you’re there for so get out there and be involved. Be proactive and see how many people you can meet. Obviously don’t interrupt other conversations but don’t shy away from meeting every single person there. Think of it this way: NEVER have anyone leave one of these events wishing you had come up and introduced yourself to them. Don’t expect or count on them to be inviting—you control that and enjoy it.
Get interested in others. Go in wanting to learn about them not share information about you. If you’ll approach it in that manner, you will have all of them wanting to know more about you. Ask questions, dig deeper. Don’t use the standard, “What kind of work do you do?” over and over. Ask how they got involved in their business? What do they enjoy most about it? What are the challenges their industry faces? Don’t grill them, but ask questions. Have a true desire to learn.
If someone happens to provide you with a lead, for goodness sake, return the favor. Perhaps more importantly, give them information first. Just like you go in trying to learn more about the other person than tell them about yourself, go in thinking of ways you can help the others more than can help you. This attitude will draw people to you and make your networking events more enjoyable, more successful and ultimately more profitable.
Did these resonate with you? Anything you’d add?