Do you do all of your networking online? Social media interactions can be valuable, but meeting people face-to-face will always be important.
You never know what the next connection you make will bring to you. Here are some tips for networking effectively:
Find the right group. There are many types of networking groups and each group has its own personality. Some are designed for lead exchanges and some are mastermind-style groups. These types of groups often have membership that stays the same over time. You will see the same people and develop relationships with them. Other groups are more “mix and mingle” events where the same core members will be there time after time, but there are lots of people who attend now and then.
The right group for you will depend on what your goals are. Attend a few meetings of several different groups to find the one that is the best match.
When you attend, go prepared. Take a supply of business cards. Have a 10-Second Brag prepared (your “elevator speech”) so you can quickly explain your business to the people you meet. (You can learn more about the 10-Second Brag at https://idealady.com/article/brag )
Follow up with the people you meet. Take a moment at the event or immediately after to jot a note on each business card you collected. Your notes might be a possible business connection, something they can do for you, something you can do for them, or just a hobby or other interest they mentioned. You will not remember all of it, so write it down.
Once you choose a group, get involved. Attend as many of the meetings as you can. Get visible by volunteering or running for office. Make connections between members and others you know. Make sure people know who you are by becoming a contributing member of the group.
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. It is important to contribute to the group, but the group is there to help you, too. When you need something, put out the word.
Networking is a long-term strategy. Put your network in place and you will reap benefits for years to come.