Networking…… the perfect opportunity to showcase yourself in apublic forum without the pressure of selling.It needn’t be a daunting prospect if you have thespecific tools, skills and knowhow to succeed.Make connections and develop your professionaloutlook by following our 10 easy networking tips.
1. Keep Your Contacts Fresh In order to maintain your contact list and keep you in the forefront of their minds, touch base with your network and be a constant reminder to them of how important and helpful a contact you are. Mailing them a week before seeing them at event after months of silence won’t do.
2. Be Prepared Always carry business cards with you – you never know whom you might meet, how you could help them, or how they could help you. If you don’t have any corporate cards, a personally produced card looks a lot better than no card at all. Make sure your cards are accessible – rummaging through your bag or pockets doesn’t look very professional.
3. Select Your Events Carefully It is important that before you attend any event you check that it is appropriate for your networking goals. If you are looking for a certain sector to network with, it is vital that you target your networking efforts.
4. Check The List Networking should be strategic; the delegate list is your bible. Before you arrive, request the delegate list. If it is unavailable pick one up as soon as you arrive and study who it is you want to talk to.
5. It’s Easy to be Interesting When you enter a room remember that most people are in the same position as you and will be receptive to any conversation. Be confident and be the questioner - people like you to be interested and that makes you interesting to them. Win people over with the sincerity of your interest and your enthusiasm for their topic of conversation.
6. Attention and Retention Once you’ve engaged with new contacts, it is vital to take in what they’re saying and use it to develop your networking experience. Introduce your new contacts to other contacts with real details – this will make you a worthwhile and memorable new contact. Don’t forget your new contact’s name whilst introducing them to someone else.
7. Give Don’t Take Networking is all about mutual benefits. Don’t go in on a selling offensive; go with the mentality that you can help others and that is why you are there. People will be more positive in receiving you with this attitude.
8. Mingle Try to see as many people as possible whilst spreading your business card far and wide. But remember new contacts may have their sights set on certain other delegates so try not to monopolise people’s time.
9. Follow Up Post-networking is almost as important as making the contact in the first place. Remember to follow up with an email at the very least. To make these new contacts into contacts for life, give them a telephone call or even drop a handwritten note. Emails can get lost in the inbox following an influx of spam.
10. Social Networking vs. Traditional? Social and traditional networking shouldn’t be at war. Use your online presence to support and reinforce your networking position. Activity on LinkedIn can be very beneficial for research and keeping up to date with contacts both old and new.
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