A couple of weeks ago we took a look at what not to do when networking. I thought it only appropriate to follow-up this week with a couple of helpful hints about what to do when networking:
- Don’t stress out. Networking is just building relationships, and the easiest way to do that is to help others first.
- When you meet someone listen for their name and use it after 1 minute of conversation. It reinforces your interest in them as a person and your interest in your conversation.
- Come prepared with three stories (children, vacation, social, etc.); stories provide interest and usually lead to follow-up questions and discussion. Remember: a story paints a picture, and a picture is worth a thousand words (and a thousand points of connection).
- Stray away from “business” quickly in your conversations.
- Focus on helping the people that you meet, not helping yourself. Would the person you are speaking with benefit from you introducing them to someone else you know in the room? Do you have information that the person you are speaking with might benefit from?
- Follow-up. Can you offer to do something tomorrow, and can you remember to do it?
In all that you do, remember to be yourself. When you are yourself and just focus on developing great friendships awesome things happen.