Lately I’ve been talking to a large number of people asking me how I do so well with networking. Â I actually wrote a short course on how to network awhile ago and have touched on it in newsletters several times, but I wanted to take a minute and outline what I do to help network.
The most difficult situation is when you are walking into a room of total strangers. Â If I don’t know of anyone attending the meeting, I contact the organizer and find out who will be there. Â Then, I will contact a couple people and agree to meet up at the event. Â This helps so much because when you walk in you have a purpose. Â It also means when someone says hello, you can tell them you are looking for someone. If they know the person they will help you find them. Â If they don’t, you now have a discussion topic.
I never carry a bag into a networking meeting because it just gets in the way. Â I have my business cards in a hard-sided case in one pocket, a sharpie marker (mini) in the other front pocket, my cell phone and keys in another pocket. Â That way I can easily pull out my card for someone, I put their cards in the other pocket so they don’t get mixed up, and I can write notes on any type of card with my sharpie. Â I can also schedule a follow up meeting right there on the fly.
When I meet someone, I always write a note on the back of their business card. Â It may just be “LinkedIn” or “sells widgets” but it is something so I have a hook to put in my follow up email. Â And it helps me remember the person after the meeting.
I generally have a goal of a number of people to meet, connect with or specific people I want to meet. Having a goal keeps you focused on what’s going on and keeps your moving.
Try not to stay in one conversation too long unless it is with a good prospect. Â Moving around will help you meet your goals, meet new people and be seen at the event. Â Some people just need to see your face several times and then they will approach you!
Finally, I try hard to introduce at least three people in each meeting. Â Sometimes that is just the person I am speaking with to someone I know walking by. Â Other times I will meet two new people, and then offer to introduce them to each other. Â We all go to networking events to meet people so being the person who is introducing others can be a huge relief to those not as good at networking. Â If you can offer a reason to introduce them, even better!
What are your best networking tips?