Networking is a great tool for building relationships and increasing our business contacts. Yet, some women (and some men, too) are reluctant to get out there. They fear that they are “selling” or being phony. With some practice and following a few tips, we can become better at this important skill.
Learn as much as you can about the type of networking venue and who will be there. Isn’t one of your first questions “who else is coming?” when invited to a party by a friend.” Knowing the guest list will help you prepare and look for people in your target audience. Often you can locate it on the group’s website or social media site.
Go with the mindset of building relationships, not collecting business cards or conducting a sales call. How many times have you come home with a collection of business cards for people with whom you have no real connection? Aim instead for the quality of the relationship and true connection. Be curious and genuinely interested in the person you are meeting.
Connect with them on Social Media. Look at their LinkedIn profile. Look for common stills or interests that could be further topics of conversations.
Stay connected. Keep in touch by sending an article, inviting him or her to coffee to get acquainted, referring her to a potential client or group in which she might make further connections. Look for creative ways to keep the connection going.
Do a check of the results you’ve received and identify ways to strengthen the process.
And finally, have some fun. Be open to the adventure and the learning that occurs with forming new relationships.