Business Networking Tips to Kick Off 2013 by Kelly Price
- Arrive time: You want to make the most of an event? Stay late. Why? Not everyone arrives early or stays late. Arriving early and staying late gives you the opportunity to meet professionals with varying schedules and you have more time to get to know the people you just meet.
- Remember, business relationships are a two-way street: It’s OK to talk about yourself but the best compliment is to ask a lot of questions about the person and their business.
- Ask open ended questions and listen: This highlights ways you can add value and meet needs other professionals might have. It’s like dating: the more questions you ask the more the person feels a connection with you.
- Stand. Why? Sitting signals that you are having a private conversation, or otherwise busy with your iPhone. Sitting should be reserved for serious conversations and follow up meetings. Don’t be a wall flower.
- Know your current perspective: Connecting with like-minded professionals can give you inspiration, insight and the inside scoop on emerging trends and needs within your industry.
- Wear a nametag: Why? Everyone attends a networking event to meet new people, so don’t be shy! Say hello, mingle and introduce yourself. Make sure your nametag is written clearly with your name and business name for others to read.
- 50/50 rule: Spend an equal time with people you know and meeting new people. The more people you meet the easier it get when you attend your next event.
- Pay it Forward: the best networker is a connector, someone that refers business to other people without thinking about themselves but thinking about helping others in networking. This will help you in the long run by getting more business and contacts in the future.
- Elevator Pitch: Have several Elevator pitches ready for your event. This way, if someone already heard your last pitch they can hear another one which might help them find you more business and or know more about you and your business.
- Volunteer: The best way to meet everyone at an event is to volunteer at the front sign-in desk. This way you can meet the people you want to talk to and it will save you time.
- Share relevant news: Sometimes we all like to talk about ourselves but knowing about current events, business news and other relevant events will give you something to talk about. By doing this, it will make you more memorable.
- Networking groups: A good way to grow your business is to join a Chamber, to increase your business and get your name out there. It’s just like customer service the more you have contact with your current and past clients the more likely they will refer more business your way.
- Network, network, network: Try to visit at least one event a week. The more you network the more business contacts you gain which will result in more business. If you don’t network, your business won’t grow and no one will know about you and your business.
- No limp handshakes and eye contact: the worst thing you can do is to give a really bad handshake, remember you want to give a good first impression. Always have eye contact with the person you’re talking to, by not looking in their eyes it could show that you’re not telling the truth or hiding something.
- Have a professional looking business card: If you break out a business card, make sure it’s high quality. Don’t start a conversation by giving a person your card first, it’s really tacky.
I hope for some of you is to network more for 2013 and by reading this I hope you’ll be a more prepared networker for your next event. Networking is about spending time getting to know people and getting your name out there.