I’m excited to start my first blog post this year talking about one of my favorite activities—networking! Whether you are a business owner, real estate agent, or a banker; walking into a room full of people can feel a little overwhelming. The word “networking” itself brings up images of shallow salesmen who thrust their business cards forcefully into your hand with barely a “hello,” all while scanning for someone more important. Networking is a skill that is learned, and the more you practice the better you will get at it. After all, business today is becoming more and more about not what you know, but who you know. Here are four of my favorite tips to help widen your networking circle:
- Be Fearless. Remember, everyone else is at the event for the same reason you are, so walk up and introduce yourself with a handshake and a smile. Positivity is contagious!
- Ask Questions. “How did you come to be in your line of work?” For some, their career path can be quite an interesting story. Having an opportunity to share their story of success can leave helpful clues along the way as to who they are and what makes them tick. Remember to go beyond the weather and really connect with someone on a personal level; ask questions that are out of the box!
- Be a Good Listener. People love to talk about themselves. Let them give you valuable insights about who they are and what they do. You might even learn something new!
- Follow-up. Contact them again within 24 hours. Send them an invite on LinkedIn, send an email, or even a hand-written note to help build rapport with someone you’ve just met. If appropriate, you may even find time to connect for a cup of coffee or lunch to talk about opportunities with each other.
Try using these four tips at your next networking event. You never know—it may help open a door to new opportunities for you and your business.
What are your favorite networking tips? Share some of your favorite networking tips with me in the comment box below.