Networking 101: Networking 101
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.
- If you tend to gravitate to the people you know at large events, set a target for how many new people you intend to meet.
- Fill your pockets, purse, wallet, briefcase, trunk and glove compartment with business cards. Always have a good supply readily at hand.
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.