Networking has an important role in business success and yet there are many people who dislike networking and avoid it like the plague. There are others who attend many networking events but aren’t really getting the most out of them. I have attended networking events and didn’t meet a single new person. I spent the time talking to the people I came to the event with. I have collected many business cards but never followed up. Networking is relationship building. It’s getting to know a person and seeing how you can help each other. We network so that we can meet people, who can introduce us to other people, who could possibly become clients, or who could send us clients.
With all of this at stake, we need to make sure that we are getting the most out of our networking experiences. There are many different types of networking events. Some are strictly business-related, some are social, and some are a mixture of the two. To be successful when you network, here are few things you should remember.
- Choose the type of networking events that are right for you, and know what outcome you want from each event.
- Set a goal for the number of new people you would like to meet and don’t leave the event until you have met that goal.
- Don’t spend all of your time with the people you came to the event with. Use this opportunity to meet new people.
- Develop your elevator pitch. Some people have a hard time sharing what they do without rambling. Practice talking about yourself and what it is you offer.
- Collect business cards and write notes on them to help you remember the conversation—and the person.
- Follow up after meeting. Connect with them on social media, by email, or phone.
- Don’t try selling your products and services during the initial meeting. Get to know the person and how you might be able to work together.
- Ask questions that require more than yes or no answers.
- If you have access to the attendee list, Google anyone that you would like to meet, look on LinkedIn, research their website or other social media platforms.
- Pay attention and listen when people are talking. You should not be planning the next thing you are going to say. Be present.
- Make eye contact, have a firm handshake, smile.
- Hold volunteer positions within the organization.
Step out of your comfort zone and attend networking events often. To be successful in business, it’s not only who you know, it’s also who knows you.
This article was written by The BOSS Network Influencer, Conchetta Jones.
Conchetta Jones is an author, model, speaker, and Certified Overflow Coach. As founder/owner of She’s All That! Woman, a Personal Development & Lifestyle Company, she helps women to identify the obstacles in their lives that are keeping them stuck from living the life of their dreams.
Learn more about Conchetta by visiting her website at www.satwoman.com
Follow Conchetta on Twitter @_satwoman