10 Tips for Networking Success
If you want to build a robust business, improve your company's brand awareness and make new and meaningful relationships, you should be making connections today! Check out these 10 networking tips sure to expand the number of opportunities that come your way.
1. Attend Business Networking Events
The first step in successful networking is knowing where you should go to make connections. While almost any activity or event can serve as a networking opportunity, small business owners and professionals with local businesses should attend local business events. For example, your city’s chamber of commerce might host gatherings (virtual and in-person) for people in your industry. Additionally, it’s worth hitting up meetings for professional associations and societies related to your field.
2. Choose a Goal
It’s hard to get what you want out of your networking endeavors if you don’t start with a clear agenda. Before attending meetings or virtual event, take the time to determine what your goals are for the experience. For example, you might want to make new connections, or simply learn about the latest developments in your business or industry.
3. Get Social In Your Office Hours
Just because you’re off the clock doesn’t mean it’s time to stop networking. If you want to expand your reach, make an effort to chat with attendees at your health club or Pilates class. You can even make business connections at your child’s school activities and sports events. After all, parents are typically looking for something to chat about besides what’s happening on the soccer field!
4. Know Your Worth
It’s not enough to provide your clients with a great product or service. If you can’t articulate what it is you do, then you can’t hope to convey that information at networking events. Whether your goal is to generate referrals or simply build your virtual rolodex for the future, you should take time to generate an elevator pitch that conveys what you do, for whom you do it, and why customers should choose you over your competition.
5. Identify Conversational Icebreakers
If you want to overcome initial awkwardness and make a good first impression, consider opening with a compliment. For example, you might tell the person sitting next to you at a seminar that you like their shoes or tie. Similarly, asking a question gives contacts the chance to talk about themselves. Ask how they got into the field or what they think of a recent development affecting your industry. The Chamber's No No-Sense Virtual Networking Events offer suggested question right on you PC screen.
6. Try Out Virtual Networking.
Virtual networking is now the fastest growing way to make connections. Organizations, including, the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce, offer virtual networking events. Don't confuse their events with a Zoom call. These are high-tech events with one-on-one private video chats, randomized introductions and are timed! You can meet lots of business professional in a very short time, and only share your e-business card if you feel their is a match. This is like video speed dating Chamber style! It's fast, automatic, and its great for the busy business professional.
7. Overcome Introversion
If you’re naturally shy, having success in networking can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are some strategies for overcoming introversion and making connections. First, consider brainstorming icebreakers before a networking event, so you don’t have to come up with ideas on the spot. Second, feel get comfortable with your self-introduction. Third, get to know the person, you job is not to sell them something!
8. Find a Reason to Follow Up
Making connections is only half the battle; you also have to take steps to keep the relationship going. Strive to reach out to your contacts a few times a year to follow up. You could forward a relevant article, invite them to a seminar or conference, or even just send a friendly note during the holidays.
Of course, being successful in networking is about more than what you do. It’s also about what not to do. Here are some tactics to avoid if you want to boost your business connections.
9. Don’t Be Negative
When searching for conversation starters, avoid speaking negatively about former companies or coworkers. After all, you don’t want potential contacts thinking you’d say bad things about them given the opportunity.
10. Don’t Be the Shark or Piranha
Whether you’re chatting on chamber of commerce in-person event or a virtual networking meeting, it’s important to remember that networking is about give and take. If you’re always the person asking for favors, the relationship is unlikely to last. For best results, look for opportunities to help your networking contacts.
The Faster Growing Networking Trend Today!
The Anatomy of a Chamber No Nonsense Virtual Networking Event
Closed group of participants
Each participant interacts once with each other
The time per round is limited
1-on-1 chats only
After each round the participant changes his partner
The event is limited in time
The exchange of virtual business cards is optional