Now that the sun is beginning to shine and we are all excited to venture out and meet new friends, I wanted to remind you of a few tips which I hope will come in handy as you set out for that next networking breakfast or lunch.
Tip 1: The Definition of Networking is Important
To network means to understand what another person does, who their target is and who else they are looking to meet. Networking is not sending mass emails to people you have met for a few moments. For me, networking means I need to know as many different people as possible so that when my friends and colleagues are in need of something, I have a frame of reference to help. Networking is not meeting someone to get you more business. When people learn about what you do and see a need for your services, they will refer business to you naturally. When networking, your goal is to form a relationship.
Tip 2: The Power of Thank you
Thank you may be two short words but I can't tell you how powerful they are. If someone introduces you to a new colleague, be sure to give him or her an update as to the progress of the relationship. I cannot tell you how much a simple thank you email can do to your networking efforts. About a year ago, I learned that a gentleman I was going to meet sent a written thank you note to a friend of mine. Once I learned how gracious he was, I went out of my way to assist him as he was looking for a job.
Tip 3: It's both give and take
If a colleague is helping you with introductions or assistance, make sure you are reciprocating. If there is nothing that you can do at this time, be sure to tell others of this good deed.
Tip 4: Results may vary
Remember, networking is not a sale. It's a relationship that forms over a series of lunches, meetings, conversations, etc. It takes time. If you are expecting immediate results, spend money and advertise.
Tip 5: A good mood counts!
If you are not in the mood to network or in the mood to have some fun, Don't. You will not put your best foot forward or be your best and others won't meet the real you. When meeting new people, put your best foot forward and use The Silver Rule.
Beth Silver has been providing marketing and business strategies (http://www.doubetllc.com/services ) to entrepreneurs and small business owner for over 10 years. For more great tips and to sign up for Doubet's free monthly newsletter, The Target Advocate (http://www.doubetllc.com/newsroom ), please visit http://www.doubetllc.com