Ever wonder why some people get a lot of business at networking events, while others come up empty-handed? The secret is knowing how you can help others. Change your thinking from “What’s in it for me?” to “How can I help you?” It will make a big difference. Here are some effective networking strategies to help you cut through the noise and stand out in the crowd.
Network Early and Often
People can sense when others are desperate for business. Telltale signs include a panicked look in their eyes or a portfolio filled with resumes. Don’t be self-serving or have an ulterior motive. If you just enjoy the networking experience you will start to build solid relationships while gaining a reputation of being generous and fun.
Develop Your Strategy
Know your value and what you have to offer. Get clear on your talents, strengths and skills. Plan what you want to talk about and determine how you can help others. Make it your goal to be open, friendly and honest and to develop genuine connections. People will remember you for your generosity. Be prepared with business cards as well to share with potential contacts.
Don’t Be a Judge
Every person offers value. Don’t discount people based on their titles. They may have valuable connections or knowledge you or someone you know could benefit from. Take an interest in them and ask questions.
Love to Learn
Networking events are a great way to expand your professional social circle and your knowledge. While chatting with others, you can pick up a few good tips on running your business or how to be successful in your field. Inspiration and new ideas are other benefits of valuable conversations.
Connect People With People
Make it a point to introduce people who may offer value to each other. Once you get to know others and go out of your way to connect them, they will remember you for it. This is what makes networking a success.
Before You Leave
Before you end a conversation, be sure to ask how you can help the other person.
Give them your business card and invite them to reach out. If you told someone you would follow up or help them out, do it. A brief email takes no more than a minute of your time.
Send Follow-up Emails
Sending emails is an effective way to nurture a connection, check in with others, or communicate a message to several people at once. Make sure you personalize your emails. Follow up with people you meet within 24 hours. It will make them feel important.
Networking Builds Confidence
Success comes at networking events if you are bold and introduce yourself to others. Networking builds courage and confidence for future professional encounters and even job interviews. Once you get to know people, you will be less nervous.
Overcoming Networking Fears
Networking can be tough for shy or introverted people. However, the more events you go to, the easier networking becomes. Go to functions that involve an activity. Ask a friend or colleague to join you. Seek out other shy people and ask how they successfully network. Open up about your passions and interests. Paying someone a compliment is a great conversation starter. Listen to others and watch how they initiate interactions. The more you network, the more you will grow as an individual and business professional.
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