Networking can be scary and daunting, especially if you’re new this game. You may think that networking isn’t necessary to your business and that you can get away with simply sending out emails and trying to reach out to people through other means. This thought process isn’t going to get you very far. Networking is important to help grow your business and help build relationships, which will prove important throughout your time in the industry. So, to make the process smooth and effective, we’ve put together a list of tips and hints that have helped us and will hopefully be of use to you.
Arrive on time. We know that you think it’s cool to show up fashionably late, but at networking events it’s best to be early or on time. You have more time to meet people and you are there before the big rush, giving you an advantage. The more people you talk to, the better. So don’t waste any time trying to be fashionably late.
Be lighthearted. Don’t worry about selling your product or service to someone in the first 5 minutes. Networking is about building relationships and you don’t want to turn them off immediately by being to abrasive. Stick to lighthearted conversation and easy questions.
Stay engaged. Make sure you are listening to what the person is saying. People can tell if you are always thinking about what you are going to say next and never really paying attention to them. They will not want to continue the conversation with you and they will remember how you were only worried about yourself.
Show your passion. You only have a few minutes with each person and you want to make a good impression. If you show your passion for what you do, this will leave a lasting impression on the person and they will be impressed with your determination and ambition. Don’t be shy about your passion for what you do.
Follow up. Don’t let you first conversation with someone be the last. Make sure to get their business card and follow up with them after the conference or meeting. Send them an email and connect with them on LinkedIn. This will allow you to begin building a relationship with them and to be a reference for you in the future.
We have found these tips to be helpful and we hope you will find them to be useful as well. Networking is such an important part of business today that we can’t be lazy about it. Make sure to show up prepared and leave feeling inspired and accomplished.