Effective business networking skills are essential to meeting other individuals and building solid and trusting relationships. When professionals have a network they can rely on, it makes connecting with potential clients, partners, and employees easier. Additionally, the more individuals that view you and your business positively, it will help expand your brand.
1. Act genuine and sincere. Build trust in relationships within the people you meet. Most business people can smell a phony person from a mile away, thus it’s important to give a positive and genuine impression every time you meet someone new.
2. Determine what your goals and objectives are. Before attending any networking event, make sure it is for the right reason. Some events are for making contacts, while others are for learning a certain trade or industry. If you are a fashion designer, I don’t think you would attend the American Bar Association Mid Winter Conference for Surety and Fidelity.
3. Join as many associations and groups to expand your professional circle that is within your industry. Many groups allow prospective members to preview how the group is organized by sitting in a seminar or attending an event.
4. Offer to volunteer in different organizations and events. It is a great way to remain visible while giving back to the organization.
5. While networking, ask questions of who, what, where, when and how as opposed to questions that can answered with a simple “yes” or “no.”
6. By joining different groups and associations, your brand becomes transparent and you become a resource to others within the industry. It will also help you be identified as an expert within your industry.
7. If you have a certain person that would like to speak to, make sure you have a clear approach. You don’t want to sound like you have no idea what you are talking about when you open the conversation.
8. Have a clear mission of how you can help networking professionals.
9. Respond quickly and efficiently to referrals. Don’t make others look bad by not delivering results that you promised.
10. Make connections and ask others if they would be interested in networking.