Networking: : the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically : the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business
How do you maximize networking opportunities? And are the purposeful?
In previous blog posts, we talk extensively about communication, including verbal and non-verbal skills, handshakes, and small talk. Now you must bring all those elements together to network and extend your business reach.
Make an effort to keep all those contacts that you make organized and up-to-date. You will also receive some tips on going above and beyond to become even better at networking!
Your networking efforts must always be intentional, strategic and fulfilling.
Organizing Your Network
Once you start meeting people, you should organize your network.
- List the people you want to contact over the next three months.
- Consider how much time and money you have available to devote to networking.
- If you don’t have business cards, get some!
- If you collect a card, note the date you met, where, and at what event. Enter them into your database if you have one. Here is cool app, Instant Customer, TrafficGeyser to help you organize your business cards and use them to build beneficial relationships.
- Do you need to do any follow-up? If so, put the details into your calendar.
- Create a networking notebook. This can be a handwritten file or a computer document. Keep track of those contacts you want to cultivate.
Sometimes when we enter a room full of strangers, we look around and everybody is already talking. What do we do besides stand there and look foolish? How do you get the conversation going?
- Set a reasonable goal for the number of new people to talk with each day…and do it!
- At gatherings, limit the time you spend with friends and people you already know. They will probably want to network too.
- Prepare and rehearse a brief description of who you are and what you do, something that takes only three seconds to say. What is your message?
- Exchange business cards with everyone who is appropriate and interested. If you don’t have business cards and your role is to be out networking, then you need to get some cards so potential customers can reach you. If you go to networking events where people don’t have cards (which would be rare, but possible), have a notebook or PDA handy to collect their details, and at least get the name of their company, and if possible, their telephone number.
- Use your time effectively if you are in transit or lining up for meals at a business or social event. It is smart to network at training or organizational sessions, and some of our most interesting networking is done at meals or in hallways.
- If you have a name tag, wear it on the upper left side of your chest. This makes it easier to read when you are shaking hands, and that part of your clothing doesn’t wrinkle when you reach across to grasp someone’s hand.
Keep Dr. Wayne Dyer’s words in mind: networking is about developing relationships, and out of those relationships can come the things you want in life. Networking means sending what we have and what we know out into the system and having it reciprocated continually through the network.
Business authority Marilyn Moats advises that, “Networking is just another way of organizing your luck. Who you meet today may very well determine where you are tomorrow.”
What are you going to do to use networking to your advantage?
I would love to hear your strategies, share your thoughts below.
In awareness, passion, joy, & purposeful networking,Callahan