Networking has become a key element in business networking. You may notice that some businesses flourish faster and become more successful then other businesses that are in the same category or industry. Like we say in the entertainment industry, “It’s not necessarily what you know but who you know!”
So if you have an idea, business, or just simply want to build your connections, what do you do and how do you get it done?
Although it may be uncomfortable for you, here are a few do’s and don’ts of networking!
The Do’s of Networking
- Show interest in other people: Show interest in the people you are conversing with, ask questions about what they do and build a conversation based off of their interest and likes. Talking about yourself constantly can be a major turn off for people.
- Be authentic: Just be yourself! Easier said then done right? Just remember you have nothing to lose when networking. You didn’t have these connections walking in so building any contacts or relationships is a plus whether it’s one person or multiple people. Pretend like your talking to a long lost cousin!
- Be clear ,concise, and to the point: When you do get the opportunity to pitch your idea or business, do it quickly and clearly. Get to the point, show passion, and represent yourself in the best way possible. Think of this like a singer: When someone is auditioning a vocalist they don’t have time to sit through the whole song. Casting directors want to hear the best and most difficult part of the song right of the bat! Impress them immediately!
- Be prepared…Always: Carry business cards around ALWAYS! Networking doesn’t only have to be at specialized events. You may bump into someone at a Starbucks and from there build a relationship or gain a friend who’s willing to help you.
- Follow Up: Always follow up with the people you meet. This will show commitment and your eagerness to grow and develop. A simple “It was nice to meet you, I’d love to keep in touch and share ideas” is often all you need to keep the momentum going.
- Volunteer: This is a great way to keep your name and face out there in the community.
- Be Patient: Networking is not easy! You will get turned down multiple times but it only takes a few people to help you get where you need to be.
The Don’ts of Networking
- Be shy: For many people networking can be a difficult and scary thing to overcome. You must force yourself to be open and meet new people. This is the only way you will develop your contacts and build relationships. Try practicing in smaller environments before hitting the big event.
- Put all of your eggs in one basket: Talk to as many people as possible! Never depend on only one person or company.
- Be flaky: If you do build a connection be sure to follow up! Don’t be a flake and ignore what you’ve worked hard to build. Even if you don’t think they can help you in the end, they can always refer you to someone who can.
- Be Afraid to Ask Questions: Asking questions is a great thing and not only shows the person that you care but allows for more conversation. Take advantage of the time you have and learn as much as possible from various experts and professionals that may surround you.
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