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Networking is not a one-off event

Networking is not a one-off event
By Guest Blogger: Desiree Dupuis, @threesixtyfg

The key to networking is building long-lasting solid relationships, this doesn't happen over night and it definitely does not happen by attending one event one time.

Being a good networker means being consistent and following up. Here are my top 5 tips to being a successful networker:

1. Commit to a Niche

In networking you are essentially marketing yourself. Any good marketing professional will tell you that the best way to sell a product or service is to focus on a target market and find your niche. The same strategy applies for marketing yourself. Choose an industry or market segment that you want to focus on and that will be most beneficial for the network of people you want to build. Once you have determined your niche do your research and find any and all events, groups, and associations related to that niche. Once you've listed all of the upcoming events and functions attend as many of the free ones as you can and choose one per month that you have to pay for to attend. Networking is an ongoing and continual process, I advise attending at least 1 event a week.

 

2. Do your research

Prior to attending an event, if possible you should always take a look at the attendee list to see who will be there. Then use google to find out more about them, check out their website, their Facebook page, their Twitter feed, etc. Knowing who you can expect to meet will help you make better use of your time at the event you attend. It will also give you an upper hand when you meet someone for the first time and you already know about their product or service, you already know if you share any contacts, and you may already have a feel for their personality and who they are.

 

3. Set your intention

Setting your intention makes you think about what outcome you are hoping to have from the event. This includes who you are looking to meet, who you know that you want to talk more with, and what you are hoping to learn or takeaway from the event. Be careful not to be selfish here, remember networking is not just about what you can get, think also about what you will bring to the event in terms of your energy, personality, and knowledge. You should always go into an event with the ‘Host' mentality. A host always makes sure that everyone is comfortable and having a good time. WIth the attitude of a host, you will bring positive and warm energy to the event and you will be the one that makes sure nobody is left standing alone feeling shy and uncomfortable.

 

4. Follow up, follow up, follow up

WIthin 48 hours of the event go through the cards of the people you met and follow up with each one of them (make sure to schedule the time in calendar so you don't forget). Send each person a personal email to re-connect. If there are people you promised to send information to or that you were going to introduce to another contact of yours, do it right away. Determine the top 3 people (or more) that would be beneficial to your network and schedule a coffee meeting with them to get to know them better. Always bring something to the table. Find out how you can help them with anything that they may be looking for in terms of business, connections, personal needs, information, or other. Show that you care and that you want to help and support them.

 

5. Use social networking

Social networking is a great way to do research about people before an event and is an extremely effective way to keep in touch with new contacts after an event. As you go through the cards when you are following up, add as many people as you can to Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. If you have a newsletter ask them if you can add them to your list. Once you've done this start talking, engaging, supporting, and interacting with your contacts. This will help you build meaningful, enriched relationships and a strong, active network.

 

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 15 Networking Tips And Pitfalls, by guest blogger: Trevor Turnbull | Networking in Vancouver - July 19, 2011

    […] Attend 1 Networking Event Per Week – The only way to really see results from your  networking efforts is to be present and engaged.  (Desiree Dupuis talked about this in another article on NIV titled: Networking Is Not A One-Off Event) […]

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