Networking polarises people; some people revel in it, others shy away from it.
One of my Gallup strengths is ‘Woo’ so when I walk into a room of 100 people, I see it as an opportunity to make 100 new friends.
At networking events tonnes of business cards are passed around — but how many of those get shoved in a drawer never to see the light of day again?
Before you attend an event, are you armed with a strategic plan when it comes to new connections? Networking the old fashioned way can only take you so far… it’s what you do after the fact that counts.
Here are some tips that will ensure your new connections continue to thrive well after the first meeting:
- Think ahead
When you know you’ll be meeting new people, make sure you can clearly explain what your business does, what you are after and how you can help them.
- Create a summary/infographic on your business
Create a one-pager that you can give, if needed, which is a high-level explanation of your business and what it offers.
- Before you introduce people, check with both parties
Respect people’s time — when you suggest that you can make a connection, sound it out with the other party first to ensure they are actually interested in catching up with this person.
- The fortune is in the follow-up
This is the most important step; send a follow-up email or a thank you note… a thank you note is never outdated.
- Treat everyone with equal respect
Don’t forget that it is the Executive Assistants that will get you through the door for that important meeting with the CEO.
- It’s not all about you — work out how your new connection can be mutually beneficial.
For me, networking is about what I can give, rather than what I can get. If you approach new people with that intention you’ll likely be met with a positive outcome.
In my experience, the fortune really is in the follow-up.
When you tell someone you’ll call them… make sure you pick up the phone.