FIVE STEPS TO MASTER THE ART OF NETWORKING
How many times have you heard people tell you that you should “network” in order to make it in business? Networking is such a broad term and for the most part there is an art to doing it successfully. I am a firm believer that proper networking was key for me to being successful with building my marketing and promotions business. Getting ‘out there’ has led me to cultivate and strengthen key contacts to take Insights Marketing to the next level.
Here are five tips that I use that you can try out at your next meet and greet:
- PREPARE: Have a brief yet informative introduction about yourself and your business ready. Some refer to this as the “Elevator Pitch”. This means your introduction should be the length of an elevator ride – no more than 30 seconds to two minutes.
- PLAN: Plan to meet a certain number of people during any networking event or activity. Anyone you meet always has the potential of turning into a key business contact. Plan your approach and subsequently plan your follow up, which leads me to my next point…
- FOLLOW-UP: Follow-up soon after the connection is made. Be sure to include a brief reminder of when you met, an introduction of your company, specifics of what you discussed (if necessary) and a thank you note. The key point here is not to harass your connection but to help your connection remember the association of when and where you met.
- LEND A HAND: Networking should be a win-win for both parties. Establish next steps with details on how you can help your new contact and essentially be an asset to her business.
- QUANTITY VS QUALITY: Networking is about balance and understanding – quantity vs. quality. Everyone you meet will not lead to a productive networking opportunity, but don’t let it discourage you. Prepare yourself for both scenarios and don’t give up. Meeting new people professionally as well as personally is one of the keys to having healthy, productive, and prosperous relationships.
I hope my tips help you during your next networking event. It takes a few times to get comfortable with putting yourself ‘out there’, but with anything – practice, practice, practice and you’ll become a natural!
Are there any networking suggestions that you would add?