The key to success is not who you know, but who knows you
Networking is a crucial part of doing business and being successful. If you cringe at the idea of going to an event full of strangers, and making connections there, then DON'T WORRY - there are ways of networking that you can actually ENJOY!!
Here is my 7-step approach to networking to help you shine at any business networking event:
1. Less is more
Be selective about which events you will go to and which you will skip. Shining bright at one event is more effective than struggling into every networking opportunity crossing your path.
2. Plan for your first impression
Your event plan might be something like : “I will make sure to meet 5 new interesting people and introduce what I do to them. If I am not getting anywhere by 2 pm, I will allow myself to leave”.
3. Arrive early
Because it is a lot easier to start conversations with people who have just arrived than people who are already there engaged in other conversations.
4. Ask Questions
Questions are beautiful ways to start talking to people. Ask them about something you both have in common e.g. the event you are at. “So, what did you think of that first speaker?” “What do you do?”
Volunteer to help out. Join committees and have a precise role. This gives you a purpose and a reason to approach people and for people to approach you.
6. Look for others who are alone
You will find these people standing quietly at the corners of the room, or beside the buffet table. Another great place to find them is waiting at their tables inside the conference room while the networking bees are out in the networking hall busy networking!
7. Send a “nice to meet you” follow up note
If you’re not following up, you’re not networking! Write personalized follow-up messages to everyone you connected with within two days, and make sure to mention something personal about the conversation such as how inspired you were by what they do. Also include your business profile in case you could be of any further assistance to them.
You never know when you might need to reach out to this person again. So, then if you do, you will have reached out to them and were nice to them when you didn’t need anything from them not just because there is a benefit !
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