Effective networking isn’t a result of luck, it requires hard work and persistence. Connecting and interacting with other business owners will help you generate new ideas and allow you to think beyond your own personal boundaries. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Ask insightful questions:
Before attending networking events, get the names of the people who are expected to attend and search social media sites like LinkedIn to figure out which topics they are probably most interested in. For people who are already in your network, don’t assume you know everything they’re up to.
A key principle to any network is to provide value. This means the moment you identify a way to help someone, take action. If, for instance, you know someone in your network that can help a new connection with a problem, facilitate the connection between these two individuals.
Learn their ‘story':
The more you understand your networking partners, the better you can add and extract value from your relationship. Ask them to share how they got where they are, hearing these stories can tell you a lot about a person’s approach to business.
Share a memorable fact:
When someone asks, “What do you do?” don’t give a canned elevator speech about your company and career. Mention something personal that defines who you really are. Such personal details can help lighten the mood and get people talking.
Keep a list:
Develop a reputation as someone who knows things. Write down important topics that came up at the event. This habit can help prevent opportunities from falling through the cracks and give you something to reference in conversation the next time you meet.
Don’t make empty promises:
No matter how small a promise you make – such as sending an email or returning a phone call – delivering on that promise reflects on your character. By following through on your word, you start building a reputation for trustworthiness.
Reward your ‘power’ contacts:
Keep a list of your top five to 10 networking partners and do something each week to add value to one person’s life or business. You might send them a book or set up a lunch to introduce them to one of your other contacts. This habit can help you be proactive about staying in touch with your most powerful contacts. There are opportunities to network everywhere. Are you part of a business network with entrepreneurs in your area? How has that network empowered you as a business owner?
This post has been repurposed for this blog. The original article can be sourced from - EntrepreneurMag.co.za