Networking is an inexpensive way to grow your personal and professional brand.
Knowing a lot of people and having a big network will help you get ahead in life; you will also have a bank of resources that you can tap into whenever people you know are searching for someone to help them solve a problem, and, in turn, you can facilitate a referral which allows you to be of service to others. Different types of events call for different etiquette when it comes to being direct about discussing business and the potential to work together. Starting with the mindset to grow relationships will keep your intentions sincere and will make people want to get to know you better.
Networking is great for:
• Growing your brand
• Finding customers
• Looking for a job
• Making you a better communicator
• Fueling the referral engine for you and your contacts
• Making new friends
• Listening with no agenda
American author Dale Carnegie stresses in "How to Win Friends and Influence People" that individuals will feel you know them well if you ask a lot of questions about them and are a good listener. Depending on your personality type, networking can be a completely energizing and fun experience, and, for others it can be torture and draining. This is all the more reason to make it worth your while if you are going to go and enhance your life personally and professionally.
Being curious about others helps you grow genuine relationships. Not every effort or event works out right away or has a direct impact on your business so making an objective to get to know people and make friends will help you build a solid network with people that like and trust you. Going out and not talking to people is a waste of your own time. If you are tired and don’t feel like it, don’t bother going if you are not going to smile and project positive energy.
TALK TO PEOPLE YOU NORMALLY WOULDN'T
Striking up a conversation with someone that you would not normally engage with will help you improve your communication skills.
Not only that, if you decide to talk to someone that was also standing alone, you form your own group that others will join rather than joining another circle late and chancing not really connecting to anyone, which can make you feel a little uncomfortable. People will be joining your conversation, and even if they don’t, you may have your own enriching one with a person that you didn’t expect to say such interesting things.
HAND OUT YOUR CARD SELECTIVELY
I have a habit of throwing out business cards of people that I do not connect with after events or that I did not have strong rapport with. Does having their card really make them an active contact in your rolodex? Likely not, so why keep the clutter on your desk? They probably feel the same too.
If you feel that you connected with someone, send them an email after the event or reach out over LinkedIn to stay in touch to learn more about each other. If you connect with them socially, they will be able to see your content that you share which will indirectly allow them to continue to learn more about you. Social media is a lazy convenient way to stay in touch with people that does not require a lot of effort.
Like a bad date, you can go to an event and learn that it isn’t going to take you anywhere—so you may as well make the most of it by having fun and talking to people. When people start to remember your name is when it starts to indirectly pay off. Knowing and having good rapport with a lot of people helps pave the way to help and be of service to others. Effective networking will open doors to opportunities throughout your career.