5 Best Networking Practices

I have become an expert in networking over the past 10 years. In the past year, it’s become a way of life. I must network to eatJ I think for several years I didn’t do it efficiently but recently (out of necessity) I have become obsessively willing to network myself to grow my business. I’d like to share 5 best practices that I have discovered and I would like to hear your best practices as well. Remember networking doesn’t just occur at events, it can occur in the office where you work, especially if that office is a shared workspace! (just sayinJ)

  1. Plan your week networking in advance. On Fridays take a look at what is upcoming the following week. How many new people do you need to meet next week? How many events do you need to attend to meet those NEW people? Plan your calendar accordingly.
  2. Go with a purpose! Go to each and every networking meeting with a purpose. Whether the purpose is to meet a certain person or to connect with a certain # of people. Make sure you have a goal in mind. I like to set myself up to meet 2 new people at each meeting. The purpose isn’t to do business, the purpose isn’t necessarily to set up a meeting, it’s simply to make a connection and get a business card. Above all else, your purpose is to serve. You serve others by networking and making connections for others as well as yourself.
  3. Learn something new – what can you learn about at an event? Can you learn about what pressure washing can do to improve your curb appeal or about a new business in your community who can perhaps help one of your clients
  4. Smile first/approach first – be THAT person. The one who makes everyone feel comfortable because you have approached the person standing in a corner, or made an introduction to one of your friends.
  5. ALWAYS follow up! Those business cards that you gathered are doing you no good in the bottom of your drawer or purse. Since you went in with a goal to meet 2 people, then it won’t be too tough to sit down the NEXT day and email them with a “hey, it was great sitting next to you…meeting you, etc.” Most of them you won’t be able to do business with but some will become great referral partners, friends, dates, etc. To me, this is THE most vital tip. Without follow up, networking is a waste of your time and energy. You can best serve others by creating synergy among people you meet.

What tips do you have to make your networking more powerful?