1. Share Your Passion, Authenticity, And Story People really connect with your real side and everyone has a story. It’s the new “elevator pitch.”
2. Target Your Audience Learn about the community where you are meeting. Research and find out about them on websites, blogs and through others that may know about them, or are members of the group.
3. Know The Guest List When you know some specific people that will be there, that you will want to meet, do your homework and find out about them. Company, awards, community activity, accomplishments. This is great fodder for conversation. How would you feel when someone you didn’t know yet, approaches you and says, “I loved the blog post you wrote on how to be a Mom and grow a business”? It certainly says something to me about them.
4. Work The Room Mix and mingle, and try to have several warm interactions. Don’t monopolize or be monopolized. Engage and encourage mutual conversation and include others into it.
5. Pair Up With A Mentor Find someone who knows the crowd and group and rely on them to introduce you around. Coming with someone others know and respect says something about you. “You are judged by the company you keep,”.
6. Set Goals Have goals for what you want to accomplish and come out of the experience with: five warm connections, new friends, someone you can refer business to.
7. Be Inclusive Be inclusive and see how making connections for others make sense both at the event and after. I have been amazed at how encouraging commonality and synergy can work with complimentary businesses.
8. Ask HCIHY (How Can I Help You?) This is the new benchmark for networking. Not what can I sell you, but how can I serve you. “Serving is the new Selling.” When people know you are in it for the right reasons and motives, the relationship naturally grows. Building trust, by freely sharing knowledge and being who you say you are takes time. Invest and commit to it with people you feel good potential with and demonstrate a mutuality with you.
9. Follow Up Follow up promptly and with purpose with those warm connections you made. Lunch, coffee, guest blog, mentor, referral, Skype, phone call, collaboration, link swap are only a few reasons to reach out and continue.
Relationships take time, effort and commitment. Some grow, some go, but you won’t know which until you take the actions.
Networking is a natural extension of all our interactions and communications today. We are pretty much networking all the time now aren’t we?