Ok, most people go to networking events, hang out with people they know, and don’t do much with the business cards they collect. Sound familiar? No wonder there’s a universal groan when it comes to these events.
So, let’s do something different this time.
Here are 3 Tips for Effortless Networking:
1. PREP: Showing up prepared makes everything easier. You know it does. So get your materials ready, bring more than you think you’ll need, imagine who you’d like to meet, and think about you’re excited to be working on these days.
2. BE PRESENT: At the event relax, smile, and stay positive. I know it’s a stretch, but get out of your comfort zone by extending your hand to someone new and say, “Hi, I’m (name), I don’t think we’ve met yet.” That’s really what it comes down to. Are you willing to take that risk and connect with someone?
After talking for a while, ask for what you’re looking for, “Who do you know who _____.” In my experience, so many people want to help and be a resource, but they need to be asked. We need to ask!
3. FOLLOW UP (sooner, the better). Send an email, invite them to Linked In or even hand-write a card. Whatever it is, make the effort to stay connected. And make it easy for them to remember who you are by mentioning topics you talked about. Update your address book with notes about what you discussed. And make sure that if you promised to send them some information, that you actually do it!
This may sound like common sense to you, but I’m often surprised when people don’t take these little steps to make a big impact. Networking is a business skill. It’s something we can practice, and it gets easier the more we do it.