I thought it would be good to post some networking tips that I have seen and learned from articles, websites, blogs, etc. For those of you who don’t regularly network, this is some great info. Here are 8 tips.
Networking, just not for now, but for life
Networking is a lifestyle for everyone, not merely something for business professionals. People network to find a great apartment/house, or to get their child in to the right school. Musicians network to get discovered, politicians network to garner support, real estate moguls network to create the deal. Networking is a vital part of everyday life. It’s about building the right set of relationships so that you’re an insider, not an outsider.
Think long term
Focus on building long-term relationships, not an immediate transaction. People who invest the time to forge relationships and build their social capital are those who will ultimate succeed and appreciate the rewards from their efforts.
Networking is not selling
Networking is not selling, nor is it USING people for your gain. Networking is an exchange of information, contacts, referrals and goodwill. Networking leads to new relationships, new opportunities and greater accomplishments.
Right before you meet new people, prepare to receive their name. Try to associate their name with something visual – what they are wearing, a word that rhymes etc. Use their name in your first or second response. Mention their name naturally during the conversation. Repeat their name when parting.
When meeting people for the first time your body language speaks volumes! With a warm “Hello” and smile, deliver a firm handshake. With each conversation ALWAYS provide people your full attention by listening and asking good questions; avoid interrupting or looking around for someone more important. Fully engage yourself in that moment and seek to learn about others as well as share information about yourself. Exhibiting a proper demeanor indicates you are invested in the conversation and are sincerely interested in building a new relationship. Business circles are small, leave an unforgettable first impression.
Keep your word
The most disappointing flaw in human nature is the lack of follow thru. Reflect on how many times someone promised to do something and didn’t live up to their commitment. Its extremely frustrating and creates a negative image. If you commit to do something, do it! And do it timely! Don’t make promises or commitments you cannot deliver. Building a relationship hinges on trust and credibility and keeping your word each and every time will make you truly unique and stand out.
Always have business cards and a working pen. Be able to concisely describe your organization, your role and how you help others.
Sit by design, not by default
Our natural tendency is to sit with those we know. You will often find a table full of people from one company or organization, which defeats the intent to meet new people! You are not being hunted; so traveling in packs is not necessary for survival! Don’t make the same mistake, force yourself outside your comfort zone and always sit at table with people you don’t know. Make sure everyone on your team understands this rule.