25 Ways to Network More “Effectively” and “Enjoy the Experience”
As the number of options for networking continues to grow in the business and non profit world, a coherent strategy is more important than ever. As you read this, circle the five ideas that make the most sense to you – and implement them today.
* Set up realistic goals when you attend a meeting. Meaningful conversations with 2 or 3 people are frequently a goal for me.
* Take a networking quiz to assess where you are and how difficult networking is for you.
* Write down the 10 things people should know about you.
* Craft an appropriate message or commercial with several lengths that people will remember.
* Honor business cards. Look closely at the card, and make notes on the back of the card to remind you of the date, event, what you discussed, and any follow-up action you need to take.
* Call people you have met that you would like to share ideas over coffee even if they only partially overlap with you business. Partnerships come from all directions.
* If you meet someone that you have previously met, learn and record 1 or 2 new pieces of information about them – family, interests, recent travel, etc.
* Join networking groups, especially if you are starting out, that fit your schedule. There are groups that meet in the morning, at lunch, or in the evening. The size of the group may also be important.
* Get in a leadership position in a civic group such as Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions or another group. You will meet city and community leaders and learn about local happenings.
* Join a committee in your local chamber that plans or develops events. There is also an ambassadors committee which welcomes new members. I ran the Small Business Council and launched several new programs for business owners in a local chamber.
* Join a second or third chamber to expand your reach and meet new people.
* Work for a local non profit cause that is important to you. You are giving back, and you will be visible at their annual events.
* Develop a list of 50-100 types of professionals you need to know to expand your business or organization. Systematically work to meet them.
* Attend meetings of trade associations where you will meet or see them, even if you only can make it once or twice a year.
* Check the Sunday papers for a list of the events coming up in the coming weeks.
* Call people you know who are in the media and congratulate them. They are glad to reconnect.
* Nurture relationships with editors and writers at events you attend. Share ideas or thoughts with them to provoke their thought process.
* Write practical articles for the paper with a byline and contact information at the end of the article.
* Teach a course at a university. This positions you as an expert, and you will learn from the process.
* Run a teleclass (teleclass.com) on a topic of interest where you can share your knowledge.
* Visit trade shows such as the automobile, toy, gift or software shows, for new contacts/ideas.
* Read a new book on networking every year and save them as references. I like Power Networking by Vilas & Donna Fisher (1992) and Make Your Contacts Count by Baber & Waymon (2002).
* Join or set up a mastermind group with your peers that meets at least monthly. A friend who is a professional speaker meets every month with 4 other speakers from New York and Massachusetts for a day.
* Set up your own networking group and make it unique. I have a group that meets with leading entrepreneurs, authors and speakers in the area.
* Engage in a debating society to sharpen your mind and meet people in a different setting.
Networking is a discipline that you have to work at continuously. Challenge yourself to give, give and give and help others. You and your business will be paid back with abundance.
Doug (www.thesuccesscoach.com) works with innovative business owners and independent professionals who want to grow their business and with company executives who want to develop empowered and cohesive management teams. His experience includes building 5 businesses and as Director of Marketing for a Fortune 100 company. He speaks on leadership, team building, strategy and innovation.