We all know referrals or leads don’t come knocking at your door, you need to get out and about to create & grow your connections. Networking is one of the most successful ways to grow your business, your connections and your credibility.

Here is what I have learnt in becoming a more effective networker.

  1. Attend events – No one is going to find you sitting in your home office, you need to get out and about. Contact your local council for details on networking events, or use sites like Eventbrite.
  2. Be on time (if not early) – Your punctuality in attending events reflects your business attitude. If you are late, others will think you are the same when dealing with your other appointments.
  3. Wear a name badge – It might be offered to you at the event, but if not be prepared with your own. After all, you want people to remember your name!
  4. Introduce yourself – Similar to point one, it’s great that you attended the event, but now is the time to meet new people and grow your network. Don’t be stuck in the corner talking to the same person for the duration of the meeting.
  5. Ask questions – Get to know the people you have just met. It’s important to ask questions, but even more important to listen to the responses. Networking is just as much social as business related.
  6. Be yourself – Don’t hit your new introductions with a sales pitch. Just be you, talk about your interests and goals. The person you are every day is the person your connections need to know.
  7. Follow Up – If you meet someone you would like to do business with, contact them afterwards. Just like ‘calling’ after a date, there’s no real rule on timeframe, but you do need to take ownership of the connection. Call, email or contact on social media to set up a one to one meeting and continue to build on the new relationship.

I a fellow connections once commented – “We have an hour and a half to impress each other and any new introductions.” So get out there and start making connections.

by Sam Spence – Founder & Principal Executive Assistant, Executive Virtual Associate.

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