Five Tips for Networking Success

It’s February, which means that, statistically speaking, 80 percent of us have shelved our New Year’s resolutions and are back to the norm. If boosting your professional network and widening your circle was one of your resolutions, it’s not too late. Here are five tips (and a quick, practical video!) to inspire you to keep it up.

  1. Resolve to ask open-ended questions. Trying to engage in conversation and getting one-word answers in return won’t get you anywhere. Reposition the ask to draw a longer response – you’ll learn more about your new contact and have the opportunity to pick up on information, which spurs additional questions, which turns into an actual conversation. Example: Instead of “What do you do?” ask “What’s the biggest deal you did last year?” or “Do you have a favorite podcast or book about {insert topic}?”
  1. Be a resource to others. Did you read an article today about a topic you discussed with a contact at an event last week? Email it to them. Know somebody who would be a good partner in a project you learned about at last week’s meet up? Introduce them. Do your best to stay visible and be a helpful (but not overbearing!) resource to others. You’ll stay top of mind.
  1. Keep it moving. Don’t stand in one spot and expect others to come to you, and don’t spend your time talking with the people you already know. Set a goal of making three new contacts or passing out 10 of your own cards to new connections. Don’t stop moving after the event ends – follow up with an email if appropriate (attach your digital vcard) and schedule calls or meetings to keep the conversation going.
  1. Be approachable. Put your phone away and don’t sit down until a program is starting. Let your body language indicate that you are open to actual networking! See someone else standing by themselves? Introduce yourself and set the ball rolling.
  1. Practice, practice, practice. Some people are natural networkers, but most of us are nervous to break into the group. Don’t go to a networking event unprepared: study who else is registered, have your ice-breaker questions and elevator pitch ready (without sounding rehearsed!), put a stack of business cards in an easy-to-reach pocket, and be ready with a firm handshake.

Want more? Check out this three-minute video chock-full of valuable tips and tricks, produced by The Marketing Moment. Networking … It’s Good for You!

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