Monday, January 7, 2008

Networking is Fun!

One of the best ways to make new business contacts is to spend ”face time” with prospective clients. Chambers of commerce and other local business associations usually hold mixers or luncheons at least once or twice a month, which are great for meeting active business owners. While a few people actually relish “working a room”, for most of us, it can be somewhat intimidating. With these key tips you can learn to master and yes, even enjoy business networking. They work for cocktail parties too!

  • Resist the temptation to hang out with people you already know. The point of networking is to make NEW contacts. Spend a few moments saying hello to friends and acquaintances, but then move on to meeting new people.
  • Remember the name of each person you meet and repeat it back to them, as in “What does your company do, George?” or “It was great talking to you, Lisa”. People love hearing their own names.
  • Don’t hard sell. This is a pseudo-social event, so focus on meeting people and learning about them. Save the selling for later, when you follow up with a phone call.
  • Do a little prep work ahead of time. Have a few topics that you can talk about, especially if they’re relevant to your industry.
  • Smile! This may seem obvious, but smiling will make you look like a fun person that others want to be around. It will help to make you feel relaxed, too.
Above all, remain friendly and open to meeting everyone. You never know who may turn out to be a good source of information, leads, or direct business. So get your business cards ready, practice your smile, and go forth and mingle!


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