To be effective at business networking, people must remember who you are and what you do! When it comes to business networking, it’s not just about making a great first impression – it’s about making a long-lasting one. It’s important to make a genuine impact, and make valuable connections for yourself and your business.
One of the best ways to be remembered is to “go with giving in mind.” Think about what you have to give to others. Go to every meeting with 3 or 4 business referrals for the people you know. The person you give a referral to will remember you. Others in the group will begin to pay attention to you. Be an example of what networking is really about; building relationships and giving business referrals. Go armed with a healthy stash of business cards to swap with likeminded attendees.
Shy people don’t do very well at networking unless they can break out of their shell. They often wait around the edges of the room, waiting for someone to approach them. When given the opportunity to talk about your business, stand up and SPEAK UP! I hear networkers who remain seated and speak so you can barely hear them when they give their “30-second connection” – often called an elevator speech. When you take your self-introduction seriously, and work on it to have it be an attention-getter, people will begin to notice you. What makes you and your business different from the competition? Speak about your business with enthusiasm, pride and passion. The words you choose to describe your efforts have just as powerful an effect on you as they do your networking friends. You should talk about something that makes you stand out and that might make someone interested to learn more.
Many shy people leave right after the meeting, when, for others, this is a great time to stick around and get to know others in the group. Some of my best contacts have been made by planning to hand out “after” the meeting to visit and meet people I don’t know very well.
“The most successful networkers (think of those you’ve met) are good at making other people feel special. Look people in the eye, repeat their name, listen to what they have to say, and suggest topics that are easy to discuss. Be a conversationalist, not a talker.” ~ Jacqueline Whitmore
Be responsible to get others talking! People love to talk about themselves. Knowing that, you can continue the conversation by using open-ended questions that keep the discussion going. Ask lots of questions. Any question that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no are best. The person who is asking the question is in control of the conversation. Keep them talking by asking thoughtful follow-up questions. Focus only on them. Listen intently to their replies. Show a sincere interest in who they are and what they do. This can be easy to forget when you’re shy or nervous.
When it’s time to move on, one of the best ways to do that is to introduce the person you’re speaking with to someone else in the group or make a comment about how much you’ve enjoyed talking with them, then move on to someone else.
If you want your business to work, you need to get out there, overcome your fears and be confident in selling yourself, your products or services. Plan ahead. Feeling tongue-tied in a room full of strangers won’t do anything to boost your confidence. You must learn how to talk about your products or services succinctly and confidently and avoid rambling. Practice. Practice. Practice.
When you meet someone that you would like to know more about… Follow-Up! Get their business card and arrange a time to get together, preferably at their office. Be sure you keep your word when you say you will follow-up. Failing to follow-up is a big networking no-no!
One of the best ways to help people to remember you is to “volunteer!” Get involved in the group. Make waves. Be seen at every meeting, helping the leader of the group by passing out flyers, or greeting people as they arrive. Out of sight… out of mind!
Networking is a skill that everyone can learn even if you’re not a natural conversationalist. Your connections are an invaluable resource for expanding your business – and only if they remember you!
Copyright © 2015 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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