The simple truth is networking works if you work it.
It’s fun to go to your business networking meeting, visit with good friends and have a nice meal. It’s great to have a support group that cheers you on to success.
However, networking is not just about going to a lunch or breakfast, handing out a few cards and waiting for the phone to ring. As a business person, you understand that it takes work to make the phone ring.
The best way to make networking work for you is to follow these few principles:
Stand-up and move: You’re here to give and receive business. Arrive early, stay standing and greet guests and members. It’s net-work, not net-sit. Move around the room and make connections. Don’t be the person who comes in, sits down and hides behind the menu. The first fifteen minutes of most referral groups is usually a very important time of standing, welcoming guests and networking.
Net-work not Net-eat: This is probably not your last meal. The food is not that important. You’re here for the relationships. The menu may not be your favorite and the food might not be perfect, but that is not why you’re here. You are here for business and to form lasting relationships. Many times the reason a venue is chosen is because the size, location and/or comfort of the room is ideal for networking. Pay more attention to the meeting than the potatoes.
Visibility: Consistently attend your meetings, do one-to-ones and stay in contact with the members of your group. Make it easy for them to contact you. Have all their numbers programmed into your phone. Stay in touch through Facebook, LinkedIn and social media. Make yourself easy to find.
Credibility: Do the best job you can and deliver honesty and integrity. Be professional, courteous and always return phone calls promptly. Come to the meeting on time and stay until the end. If you volunteer for a leadership position, take it seriously and help make your group a success.
Give referrals: Sincerely look for opportunities to refer the members of your club, chapter or group to others. Take the time to get to know each member so you can easily refer them. Consider using the members for your own business and personal needs.
The WORK in networking brings great rewards.