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Business Networking Success - 10 Action Tips To Get More Mileage From Your Networking

Apr 1, 2008
Does a networking event make you break into a cold sweat? Have you ever returned from a business event wondering why you bothered going, since you never seem to get any new business?

You're not alone. Business events can be daunting. It can be downright intimidating to enter a room filled with strangers, break into a crowd where you don't know a soul, and make small talk with people you hardly know.

Studies show that over 40 percent of adults feel nervous about meeting new people. One survey showed that about 75 percent of people feel uncomfortable at business and social events. Perhaps this is because our parents always told us not to talk to strangers when we were young.

But the rewards for networking can be enormous. Networking isn't hit and run - meeting someone, exchanging business cards, and dashing off to the next person. It's about building sincere, honest relationships. It's an ongoing process that connects you to people in all areas of your life.

Here are 10 action tips to help you succeed at networking:

1. Learn networking skills. Most successful networks are not born that way. They learn the skills of networking, because they know that the rewards will be increased business and connections that will help them build their business.

2. Think about networking as a way to build long term relationships - not to sell on the spot.

3. Be approachable and friendly. You'll attract people to you. Smile, make eye contact, and approach people. They will be grateful that you made the first move, and they will be happy to talk to you.

4. Act like a host, even when you are a guest. Offer to help people find the restroom or the coat check. Treat them like you would treat a guest in your home.

5.Always follow up. Nothing happens unless you follow up, and not many people bother to make the first move. Take the time to send a handwritten card or note, or an email. Or pick up the phone and call. So few people do this, that you'll stand out in the crowd.

6. Think about how you will introduce yourself. Create a memorable tagline to help people remember you and your company.

7. Plan your conversation before you leave the house by thinking of topics of interest for the people you will meet. Think about the event, and how you can build on topics relevant to the conference or venue.

8. Listen carefully to people, and pick up on topics. Find common ground and expand on it. Find out what people are interested in, and what problems they are having. This way you'll find out if you can help them or refer them to someone in your network

9. Think of yourself as a solution-finder, rather than a sales person. Not everyone can use your product or service, but the people you meet can often refer you to friends and colleagues. Aim to build long-term relationships that lead to a bigger circle of customers.

10. Be cheerful and have fun at your networking event. You'll attract people and make a great impression.
About the Author
By Lynda Goldman, author of 30 books including How to Make a Million Dollar First Impression. Get 2 free reports: 7 Business Casual Crimes and How to Solve Them and 13 Foods that Sabotage a Business Meal at http://www.impressforsuccess.com/signup.html
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