Being Prepared Will Put Your Business On The Fast Track
If you are in business, chances are you already know about the importance of networking. But what are you doing to ensure that you are taking full advantage of your networking opportunities?
|Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.
– Alexander Graham Bell
One of the keys to effective networking is preparation. Preparation begins with selecting the events most beneficial to attend. Whom do you want to meet? – whether specific individuals or members of your target market? What meetings and events do they attend? Decide on your objectives and then determine which events offer the best prospects for achieving them.
Set specific goals for each event, and have a plan for how you are going to accomplish those goals. Preparing for events in advance will boost your confidence and help ensure that you spend your time productively:
- Prepare an introduction suitable for the occasion and practice it.
- Determine in advance which feature and benefit of your product or service you will introduce.
- Identify some appropriate conversation generators that you are comfortable with.
Here are some ideas re conversation ideas
- Goals – It’s always a good idea to share your goals and be sure to ask the other person what theirs are: You both maybe able to help each other attain them
- Accomplishments — Don’t be shy – share your accomplishments ie. awards received, nominations. Sharing accomplishments increases your credibility and helps you to build relationships.
- Share your interests with people and find out what they like as well. People enjoy spending time with people who have interests in common, such as sports, travel, business/personal books, fitness, hobbies etc.
Listen and ask questions of your new contacts – here are some examples.
- What goals have you recently accomplished?
- What are some of your skills?
- What are you really good at?
- What are your strengths?
- What areas of your business would you like to improve?
- What do you like best about your business?
- What is the biggest challenge facing you and/or your business?
- What are you really passionate about?
- What makes you really unique?
Remember to Listen and take a real interest in the other person.
Remember my motto “More WE and Less ME
Networking events have tremendous potential to help you achieve your goals and expand your network. But you have to do more than just show up, meet people and collect business cards. We’ve already talked about the importance of follow-up. With careful preparation as well, you are well on your way to becoming a highly effective networker.