Letters to YOU: "How can I network effectively?"
These days networking is a vital part of marketing process for developing business opportunities and contacts. To some people networking comes naturally, to others it may seem like a disaster – having to meet loads of new people, not knowing anyone in the room, having to talk about themselves or even having to find a corner to hide! In reality, networking is just a common sense - everything is much simpler than it seems; it’s just in our human nature to complicate things. Here are some tips for making the most out of networking events:
- Choose carefully which networking events you want to attend. There is no point to waste your time by attending events which will not help you build relationships with the right contacts.
- PREPARATION before the networking event is the most crucial part of your success. Make sure you know what event is about and what kind of people might attend.
- Set a goal before you network – how many contact would you like to make (one, five or maybe twenty? – be realistic how many people you can possibly meet in a given time).
- Prepare and practice your “elevator speech” – you have about 30-60 seconds to tell the other person who you are and what it is that you do. You will find that the more you practice the easier it gets to talk about yourself!! And…Always bring enough business cards with you.
- Make notes on the back of each business card – it will help you to remember what you have talked about, what information you have promised to share with each other, and when and where you met this person.
- Be a good listener. Become passionate and enthusiastic about other person’s world. Try to understand through active listening.
- Talk about things that you are passionate about and what motivates you. There is no point to network and try to sell something. Everybody just hates that.
- Always remember about the body language – smiling, eye contact, a firm hand shake etc… and be polite at all times!
- Be honest and genuine. There is no time to pretend. Just always know who you are now and where you want to be in the future.
- Networking is all about quality over quantity. It’s not about how many business cards you give out or collect. It’s about how well you communicate, how relevant it is what you say, how memorable your story is and how you and your contact can benefit from your short chat.
- Always carry your business cards with you. You never know where you can meet a new contact and connect - be it in Starbucks or on the street.
- Always follow up within the next day or two. People have to know that networking event was not just about you. Show a genuine interest in meeting new people.
Be healthy, wealthy and happy …..& Remember: “You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.”
Always by your side,