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“It’s all about who you know” is not just a saying. Making contacts in your industry means widening the pool of potential advisors and opportunities.
However, merely meeting people isn’t usually enough — kindling a professional relationship built on respect, trust, and shared need is often the best way to advance your skills, career, or business. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your next professional networking event.
1. Initiate and Follow-Up
At a networking event, don’t be afraid to initiate conversations. When reaching out, be straightforward about what it is you hope to gain from the event. Each time you don’t speak up is a potential opportunity that might be lost forever.
Relationships don’t always yield results immediately, but after the connection is there, who knows what the future holds? Afterward, don’t expect that the people you’ve met will get back in touch with you right away, be the first one to follow up.
It’s all about who you know” is not just a saying. Making contacts in your industry means widening the pool of potential advisors and opportunities.Tweet This
2. Relationships and Giving
Networking is more than a hello, handshake, and a business card; the real value is in cultivating mutually beneficial relationships. And building a relationship is different than making a sales call, so leave your pitch at home and focus on the interaction.
Many people attend events because they need help, so stand apart by going with the intention of offering help. Those who begin relationships by giving are often likely to receive willing help in return.
3. Cross the Industry Lines
Going to events hosted by outside industries that share a similarity to your own can give you a unique perspective on issues that you face in your field, and you may have some solutions of your own to share. Business owners from different backgrounds who collaborate can produce marvelous, unanticipated results.
Also, many skills are transferrable. If you’re trying to make a career move, this can point you in directions you may not have considered.
“Networking is essential for all career paths. Networking events allow recent graduates and people who want a change in careers the chance to meet new people and get their foot in the door. It allows veterans of specific careers the opportunity to share their experience while allowing rookies the opportunity to learn from others’ experiences. Here are some of the top ways that networking can boost your career.” – Networking Can Boost Your Career
4. Share Your Need
You’ll never know the answer if you don’t ask the question, and if your company or career depends on the answer, what’s the harm in asking? Business finance experts from Quick Loans Direct feel that networking events are vital opportunities to share your needs and find referrals to someone who may be able to help. For example, entrepreneurs who are trying to grow their companies often need resources and funding, and asking peers directly for introductions can help you get where you’re going much faster.
5. Network Solo
When you attend networking events in a group, it can be all too easy to stay within the comfort of the clique. When you’re alone, you have to talk to strangers. Remember, everyone is there to connect with new people, so go ahead and start the conversation.
The more you practice networking outside your comfort zone, the easier it gets. If the attendee list is available, some people find it easier to plan their interactions rather than walk into the room cold.
6. Talk to Everyone
Every person at a networking event is worth meeting. You don’t know who people are, what their experience is, or what they may be able to offer you until you have the conversation. Don’t just limit yourself to introductions; talk to people in the lobby, at the bar, anyone you meet.
Networking extends beyond an organized event, as well. The person you bump into at the café on Saturday morning might be the best business lead you’ll ever have.
7. Be on Your Best Behavior
Advice and opportunity are everywhere, all the time. Be kind to the people with whom you interact, including those staffing the events. There will almost assuredly be someone else watching you, and unkindness and unseemly behavior can make a damaging impression.
Keeping a rein on your actions has extra significance at out-of-town trade shows, especially when the late-night crowd starts getting a little rowdy. Have fun, but don’t forget your professional image — what happens in Vegas might not stay in Vegas.
Some people are natural extroverts and seem to float through networking events with ease, and others have a hard time initiating conversations in a room full of strangers. Whichever type fits you best, honing your networking skills could help you foster the relationships you need to help you move forward with your goals.