net·work·ing [net-wur-king]nounA supportive system of sharing informationand services among individuals and groupshaving a common interest.
Resist the urge to arrive late• Its easier to find other people who dont haveconversation partners yet.• Its calmer and quieter.
Ask easy questions• Simply walk up to a person or a group, and say,"May I join you" or "What brings you to this event?“• Dont forget to listen intently to their replies.
Ditch the sales pitch• Keep your exchange fun, light and informal.• People are more apt to do business with – orpartner with – people whose company they enjoy.
Dont hijack the conversation• Some people who dislike networking mayovercompensate by commandeering the discussion.• The most successful networkers are good at makingother people feel special.
Remember to follow up…• Networking is where the conversation begins, not ends.• Get in touch within 48 hours to show youre interestedand available, and reference something you discussed, soyour contact remembers you.
Where to network?• Grand Rapids Young Professionals (www. gryp.org)• BL2END (www.grblend.org)• GR Area Professionals for Excellence (www.grapegr.com)• LinkedUp Grand Rapids• Chamber of Commerce (www.grandrapids.org)• Economic Club (www.econclub.net)• Social Charity Club of GR (www.socialcharityclub.org)• Inforum (www.inforummichigan.org)• School alumni groups• Industry specific groups (AMA, WMPRA, YNPN,AIMwest)• Nonprofit special events