Dale Carnegie once said ” You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” So if you are a good networker you can fasten your way to reach people to promote yourself and your business.
Let me share my experience how I came to know what networking is and how effective it is for an entrepreneur. I was new to networking when I enrolled at University of Cambridge (England) for my higher education in Entrepreneurship. There I realized the true meaning of networking in real life.
Business is all about networking and It does not matter “How much knowledge you have?” and “Whom you know?” until and unless you could not offer some value to them.
I learned so many baby steps about networking from getting a visiting card to following up.
Prepare, Plan and Research
People often go to events or sessions without any preparation and planning. But it could hurt your chance to know people and interact with them. So, gather as much information as you can about important people of the event before attending it. For example, look over their social profiles and perform Google search to gather relevant information in advance. Always carry your updated visiting card with yourself to exchange in the networking gatherings.
Connect with organizer
Search about the event organizers and volunteers and connect with them before the event. Build rapport with them so that you get introduction to the speakers in time. If possible offer some helping hand as this can get you familiar with the environment. This is the easiest way to interact with guests and speakers.
Smile & Connect
Smile is infectious so why not use it to create a good impression when you meet a stranger. It also eases the tension when you meet any new person and build familiarity between strangers. Once you get warm smile back then approach person to start conversation with “Are you attending this event first time” or whatever lines suits the situation. Do not ask creepy or personal questions as it can annoy others especially during first meet. Then try to learn about others rather than speak about yourself and make them feel important. That’s it once your talk is over it is a time to exchange cards.
Connect with the people you had interaction during networking event with 36 – 48 hours of networking. Some people prefer phone while other like email. So choose whatever suits the situation. It is not necessary to connect with every person you met at the party. Only connect with people who you think can add value to your network.
So follow these tips to get most out of networking and build relations for a lifetime. Please do share your experience at the networking event or any new insight you have gained.
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