My motto is “Every meeting is a networking meeting.”
Whether you are attending a training meeting, a brainstorming session or a formal networking event, you should be attending with the thought of “Who here needs to be in my network?”
Here are some ways to maximize any networking opportunity.
- Have an “elevator speech” or “ten-second commercial” ready. Whether you’re an author, a coach or you sell a product or service, you should always be ready to quickly tell people what you can do for them to pique their interest and hopefully prompt more questions.
- Remember Mary Kay’s motto: “Everyone has a sign around their neck that says, ‘Make me feel important.’” Smile as they talk, compliment them and help them feel good about themselves. When you make it all about them, they feel better—which leaves them with a good feeling about YOU.
- Meet a need. As you talk to people, find ways that you can help them. Maybe you can pass along a book title or a link to a favorite website. Maybe there’s someone in your network who can help them—or who needs their help. Get their information and follow up with them afterward to keep the conversation going.
- Give people more than just a business card. Hand people a sample, a goody or a freebie. Stand out from the crowd and encourage them to follow up with you.
- Don’t just collect business cards. After the meeting, go through the cards and visit each person’s web site. “Like” their Facebook page (or better yet, leave them a quick message and ask them to “like” your page in return). Send an email to say, “Nice to meet you! Let me know if I can help you in any way.” You’ll be surprised at the return you can get.
Make the most of every networking opportunity and watch your network grow every time.
Tabitha Dumas is a wife of 11 years, mother of two sons, writer, chronic blogger and image consultant. She owns “Let Me Rephrase That” writing services, manages a collaborative blog called FanTABulous Women and offers free image assessments in her home studio. Based in the Chandler/Gilbert area, Tabitha is passionate about helping people live lives of greater beauty, confidence and influence and is always looking for more people to add to her network.