3 Steps to 5-Star Networking
I may not be the world’s best networker, but I have noticed a few things recently that made a difference in my success rate, and ultimately confidence, when it comes to networking with other executives. Please take a look at these tips I’ve discovered to help make networking a breeze.
Be memorable – The real challenge begins once the introductions have subsided. The given period of small talk has passed, and it is up to you (or them) to keep the conversation going (or not). Now, you could take the easy path and discuss what your businesses have in common, where you went to school, or your latest big company news, but that would be boring. And you won’t stand out. Try taking the conversation to a new level by sharing a surprising piece of information you just learned, discussing a favorite vacation spot, or asking a question about the person’s day. The goal here is to be different. Stand out. Challenge the conversation. If one person is willing to take the conversation from “small talk” to “real talk”, both parties are bound to feel more comfortable, and leave with a face, name, and businesscard that could turn into something more than the faceless businesscard sitting next to it.
Always be prepared – Obviously, you don’t want to go to a business party without your cards. But what about the grocery store? The park? I have made many valuable connections with people outside of the typical networking scenario. This is why I have learned to always carry business cards with me. Most of them store great inside your iPhone 4 case ;), and you know you’ll always have that by your side!
Follow-up – If you meet someone whom you think you could possibly do business with one day, follow up. If you meet someone you think you may never do business with one day, follow up. The key to networking is realizing that it is meant to expand your network. Maybe you didn’t meet the perfect prospect, but you may have met his brother, friend, or future colleague. Treat everyone you meet like they have the ability to help your business, and in turn, be willing to help them. A simple follow-up note takes so little time, and it sets you apart. This way, if you actually do need to reach out in the future…you’ve already started on the right foot.
Post written by Melissa Grisham.