Top Ten Networking Tips
Networking is a crucial part of today’s business environment. Making valuable contacts can go a long way and will likely benefit you and your business for years to come. So where do you start?
Here is a list of ten networking tips:
1. Be social.
In order to start networking, you need to get out there and meet people. Attend events that have like minded professionals at them, and mingle.
2. Use the internet.
Today, the internet makes it possible to meet others from all over the world. Timezones or geographical barriers are no longer an issue. Professionals can work together and network online through websites like LinkedIn, Facebook, or Meetup.
3. Be helpful.
When you’re networking with other professionals, remain open minded. Listen to what they have to say, and try to learn something from others. If you’re a good guest, they will most likely be responsive to what you say as well.
4. Avoid selling.
Networking is not about selling or pushing your products or services. It is about meeting other professionals to learn best practices, or how you can help one another. Don’t be pushy, or you’ll risk your initial impression.
5. Be approachable.
If you go to a networking event, you want to be perceived as someone who is there to meet others. It is important to find a good balance between sitting in a corner alone, and being too pushy. Find the middle ground and join in on discussions in a helpful way.
6. Set goals
Think about why you’re networking. Is it to find a specific partner, or just get the word out about your business? Whatever your goal is, define it ahead of time and think of how to best achieve it.
7. Do your research.
If you plan to attend an event with other professionals, research the topics they’ll be covering, or some of the key players involved with the event. Understanding who they are and what they offer ahead of time will keep you informed, and ensure you’re better prepared to ask questions or provide input.
8. Plan Ahead.
Although networking is very social, you’re there for a reason. Try to find people that would make good potential partners to connect with. Set a number such as ten or fifteen contacts you’d like to make connections with before you leave.
9. Take notes.
Unless you have an amazing memory, be sure to take notes. Even if you aren’t taking actual notes of the event speakers, you should write down important names, industries, and contact information for those you meet.
10. Stay in touch after the event.
The whole point of networking is to make contacts for future benefit, so be sure to follow up with others after the event. Find them on LinkedIn, or send them a referral. Staying on their radar can help ensure they keep you in mind.
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