Attitude is everything when it comes to networking.
With the right attitude anything is possible, while having the wrong attitude can quickly sour any potential relationships.
Networking with new people is all about first impressions. Are you confident? Is your body language open and friendly? Is your approach to meeting new people warm and engaging?
Sometimes networking requires you to step outside of your comfort zone. For an individual who is naturally shy, the thought of meeting and talking to new people can be huge a source of stress. Preparing your networking style ahead of time and following a few simple steps can boost your confidence and give you the advantage you need to succeed.
If you happen to know who might be attending an event, it pays to spend a little time on Google. Find out what you can about their business. What do they do? Are there any common interests or areas of similarity? Doing your homework helps you prepare some questions ahead of time.
Asking questions is a great way to get the conversation started. Ask about the type of work they are in, what their interests are, what their potential prospects look like, and how you can help.
Be a resource for others
Think about your own network – can you see ways to connect others? Don’t be shy in referring those you know and trust, and in the end they’ll do the same for you. That’s the foundation behind networking: creating win-win relationships.
Respect people’s time
When you’re getting to know someone new or when you’re in a conversation with someone, turn off your mobile. Be considerate. Be polite. If you’re meeting up with someone, don’t be late and leave them waiting for you. Make good use of your time by showing you’re engaged and interested.
Remember, you’re not there to sell. Don’t treat those you network with like your latest prospects. If and when they’re ready to move in that direction, they’ll tell you.
One of the most important aspects of networking is the follow up. Follow through on any logical next steps, whether it’s touching base through and email or setting up a meeting.
Stay in touch
Networking is a long term strategy with benefits that may not always appear immediately. A phone call, occasional email, or handwritten notes are all great ways to be proactive about keeping in touch. Remember to keep it thoughtful and personal.
Realistically, you won’t make lasting connections with everyone you meet, but with the right attitude you’ll be making connections that matter. The right networking attitude is one of the keys to finding personal and professional success.
For more information about increasing your sales through networking, contact Karen Jones Consulting Inc.