6 Key Networking Tips to Live By
Networking net-wur-king: the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.
If you’re someone who hates the word, and even the thought of networking, you’re not alone. That said, meeting new business professionals can reap many long-term benefits for you and your company. Regularly attending networking events has been proven to be an incredibly effective way for people to develop new and valuable relationships both in and out of the workplace.
Similar to learning a new language, the more you practice, the better you become. So break down the walls of introversion and realize that there is nothing to be afraid of! People who are judgemental are not your friends, and quite frankly, you won’t want them to be.
Here are a few helpful tips and common mistakes to avoid at your next networking event:
- You think you don’t know anyone: You know more people than you think. Create a running list of past and current contacts, save these names and add new people as you meet them. Make a point to follow up and stay in touch – send an email, give them a call or message them via social media. You’d be surprised how far a quick “hello” could go.
- Don’t network just to network: Attending a networking event with the sole intention of networking can come off “sales”y and cheap. Go with the intention that meeting new people is a mutual benefit and your interactions will come off as professional, and even natural.
- Be punctual: When you arrive on-time to a networking event, the environment is typically more relaxed. You also have a better chance of starting new conversations and meeting more people.
- Talk in terms of the other person’s interest: Thank you, Dale Carnegie! There is no denying it…people LOVE to talk about themselves. So make sure to ask easy questions, be a good listener and act engaged. Do that and your new acquaintance will never forget you!
- Follow up: Networking is where the conversation begins, not where it ends. Bring your business card and exchange it with as many people as possible. Wait a day or two and send a follow up via email referencing something you discussed, so that person remembers you. Keep the communication flowing and let them know you will always keep them in mind for potential leads.
- Smile: Another one to thank Dale Carnegie for. Smiling not only enhances your own mood, it makes you look more approachable and will allow others around you to feel more comfortable as well. Honestly, who wants to talk to anyone that looks unhappy and upset?