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Networking How-To

Networking is not just about handing out your business card and hoping someone will call you.  It is somewhat of an art to get it right. If you have an outgoing personality, you will probably be fine.  But if you are a bit nervous about attending your first networking event, here are a few suggestions.

Arrive on time. You can be fashionably late to a friend’s dinner party, but you should be on time for a networking event.  Some of them are short sessions before a business meeting.  If you arrive late, you will miss the networking.

When you walk in the room and are deciding who to speak to first, look for small groups.  If you start with a large group, you will probably get lost in the mix.  A small group will be more receptive to a newcomer.

Always have a business card with you. You want the people you meet to remember your name, so make sure you have a business card handy to give them.

Practice your elevator speech ahead of time.  Make sure you know what you are going to say to introduce yourself and your business.  Have a 90 second recap ready to go.  Practice it ahead of time so you don’t stumble on your words.

Don’t talk about you.  Sure you want to introduce yourself and let people know what you do.  But word it in such a way that you are telling them what you can do for them.  Don’t make it all about you.

After it is all over, follow up with a few of the people you just met.  Send a short note to let them know you enjoyed meeting them.  Consider Following them on Twitter or Friending them on Facebook.  Check out their LinkedIn profile.  Start building relationships.

And most importantly, have fun networking.

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