How to Make Your Networking More Productive

Networking is an essential part of being successful, no matter what business you’re in. Whether you’re looking for new clients, referral partners, a mentor, or advice from seasoned professionals, networking is one of the best ways to get connected. But what if you aren’t a natural networker? Here are 5 ways to make your networking more productive.

  1. Get in the right mindset. Networking isn’t about selling. Even if you’re looking for new clients, networking is about connecting and starting business relationships that will produce fruit later on. When you stay focused on getting to know people, learning about their businesses, and trying to help them connect with others you know who would be able to help them, networking is both easier and more productive.
  2. Go where your target market is. Our natural tendency is to go where our friends are. Meeting new people in new places takes us out of our comfort zone, but if we really want to connect with those in our target market, we need to go where they are. That might be a Chamber event, an industry conference, or even a hobby group or club.
  3. Review the attendee list, if possible, and pick 5 people you want to meet. When you head out to a networking event, don’t pressure yourself to get your business card into the hand of every person in the room. In fact, it’s better if you stay focused on building a business relationship with just a few people. Attendee lists are gold mines, because you can see ahead of time who will be there and who you’d like to meet.
  4. Ask insightful questions. Everyone likes to talk about themselves, so asking insightful questions is a great way to get the conversation going. Show interest in people’s companies, the projects they’re working on, and the goals they’re focused on.
  5. Follow up with those you met. After the networking event, look through the business cards you collected and decide who you want to follow up with. Most people don’t follow up, so if you do, you’ll stand out. You might simply send an email saying you enjoyed meeting the person, or you might ask to continue a conversation over coffee, if you want to build the relationship.

Networking with a strategy is much more productive than just attending events and hoping for the best. Eventually, it will become second nature, and you’ll feel confident when you enter a new room.

Published on May 21st, 2015 in Blog

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