Yes, networking takes work. Networking is not simply a matter of attending seminars and workshops, suffering through presentations and then being monopolized by one contact during cocktails. Networking should be premeditated, well executed and placed very high on your priority list if incredible success is your ultimate goal.
Think about the last time someone recommended a good movie to you. Weren’t you more compelled to see it? And, if you did, did you not pass on the word to others how great the flic was? Well, that’s what networking is – one person passing on information or services to another, often through word of mouth, only to have that person turn around and pass it on to another. Then they tell a friend who tells two friends who tell two more friends et voila – Success!
However, there is a right way to network and there is a wrong way to network. Remember the saying that “you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression?” The same goes for networking. If you stumble and fumble in your networking efforts, chances are you are losing key contacts for good.
Here are some things to consider and put in practice when planning your next networking encounter;
– Handshakes tell a thousand tales. Is yours too soft, too hard?
– What did you say your name was? How to say your name so they remember.
– Business cards – don’t leave home without them and read the ones you receive.
– Follow up – need I say more?
– Ask open-ended questions. Never ask “How are you?”
– Find common ground – an instant connection.
– Be sincere. Really. Everyone can sniff out a fake.
– Don’t monopolize and don’t be monopolized.
– Volunteer at various events to increase your network.
– Your business title – a 15 second pitch.
– Offer to help – if you don’t have what they need, find it for them.
– Keep in touch – out of sight is out of mind. Stay in there heads!
– Always have a notepad handy.
– Gravitate to social situations like a moth to a flame.
By Heidi Crux