From BNI (Business Network International) to Young Professionals and all the networking groups in between there are best practices for networking.
If you are in a professional networking organization then you will have rules, such as 1 person from each profession, each person speaks a certain amount of time, etc…
What about those networking opportunities that are not part of a professional organization?
If you are attending any of these opportunities and plan to use them as a networking event here are 4 tips to make the most of it.
1) Don’t just give everyone your card
There is nothing more annoying at an event than when you shove your card into everyone’s hand while they are engaged with someone else.
- They never asked for your card.
- They won’t remember why they have your card.
- They will probably throw your card away, or even worse put you on their follow-up emails that you didn’t want in the first place.
2) Don’t just take everyone else’s card
The flip side of giving everyone your card is that you take everyone’s card and this is just as bad a practice.
- Why did you take their card in the first place?
- Do they really want the information you are about to send them or will they just click unsubscribe and hurt your online results.
- Do you really want to have a business relationship with this person that you don’t know?
3) Have a plan in place in advance
When you go to a networking opportunity have a plan for who you want to meet and why you want to meet them.
- Are you looking for people in a certain area of the country?
- Are you looking for people with a specific skill set or experience?
- Are you looking for people who fit a specific criteria that match yours?
4) Meet the people and remember the people.
This is the key to networking, are you memorable? This is what sets the best networkers apart from the others. After the event is over, even more if it is a convention over more than one day, most people will be on information overload and not remember much. When they get home and calm down, will they remember you? They will if you remember them!
- Have conversation with the people you are networking with. It is better to network with fewer people and be remembered then to network with everyone in the room and be forgotten in seconds.
- After your conversation with someone you should be able to make 3 notes about them on the back of their card (now you want their information) to use in future conversations and emails such as things you have in common.
- Work at sharing an interesting fact about yourself that helps you stand out from the crowd of networkers.
- Ask more questions and listen more than you talk. You will be remembered for being a great conversationalist.
You can network with everyone and get nothing from the experience or you can have an idea of whom you are looking for at the event, make a connection, be remembered and grow a business relationship with years of positive results.
The choice is yours.
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Chadalyst - Next networking event you are attending, don’t plan to meet everyone just plan to meet 1 person from each state, or 1 person for each letter of the alphabet (use the first letter of their last name – Good luck meeting an X)