by Karen Bate, KB Concepts P.R., and Laura Drain, Random Words Marketing Group LLC
is key to being successful in business, and it’s a major reason people join the
Arlington Chamber and other professional groups.
knowing and doing are not the same thing. For many, walking into a roomful of
strangers and striking up conversations is a real challenge.
others, networking means pitching their services and passing out business cards
-- not getting to know new people, discovering shared interests, or finding
ways to help one another.
you finding the right connections, establishing relationships that help build
your business, and making the right networking choices? Here are five simple
tips to keep in mind as you head to your next networking event:
Smile. It seems obvious, but when people get nervous, they can stiffen up and
forget this simple rule to making friends and being approachable. Take a couple
of deep breaths and remind yourself to smile before entering the room.
Make the first move. Everyone dreads standing alone in a crowd, and the best
way to avoid it is to simply walk up to a group or individual and say, “Hi, may
I join you?” It’s a networking event – that’s why you’re all there.
Keep it simple and light. Ask easy questions, listen to the answers and follow
up. Avoid the temptation to talk about yourself too much – the best networkers
know that people like to talk about themselves, and appreciate the person who
shows interest in them.
No sales. You’re trying to establish relationships, not make a pitch. If specifically
asked, have a brief description of what you do ready. By all means convey
passion for your work, but keep it short and light.
Bring enough business cards, ask for theirs and follow up within 48 hours. Networking
is just the start of the conversation; if you make a good connection, take this
important next step and go from there.
“Rather than networking to directly
benefit yourself (1.0) or a total stranger (2.0), the idea here is to network solely for the benefit of your best existing clients and
says Derek Coburn, featured
speaker of the Chamber’s upcoming event, Networking 3.0 on Wednesday,
this interactive workshop, you'll discover new strategies to increase your
networking success. Attendees of the program will learn to:
the ultimate connector and resource for your clients
and develop relationships with world-class professionals
the value you deliver to your clients
yourself for more quality introductions to ideal prospective clients
will sign copies of his book Networking
is Not Working after the program. You can also purchase a copy while
registering for the Chamber seminar here.
so many worthwhile things in life, successful business networking requires
stepping out of your comfort zone. It’s helpful to remember that everyone else
is in the same boat; armed with a smile and some solid tips for success, you
might even enjoy yourself!