It’s one of the oldest ways of marketing your business. Some people love it and get great business from it and others hate it with a passion! I urge you have a go at it as people buy from people. Remember it’s not just a matter of turning up and handing out your business card and hoping the phone is going to start ringing.

Here are some ideas to increase your chances of success:

– Be Authentic: Networking is about being genuine and authentic, building trust and relationships, and seeing how you can help others. Leave your selling hat at the door!

– Have goals: Ask yourself what your goals are in participating in networking meetings so that you will pick the right groups to be involved in. Some groups are based more on learning, making contacts, and/or volunteering rather than on strictly making business connections. Visit as many groups as possible that spark your interest. – Volunteer Hold volunteer positions in organizations. This is a great way to be visible.

– Use Open-Ended Questions: Ask open-ended questions in networking conversations. This means questions that ask who, what, where, when, and how as opposed to those that can be answered with a simple yes or no. This form of questioning opens up the discussion and shows listeners that you are interested in them.

– Build a Reputation: Become known as a good resource for others. When you are known as a strong resource, people remember to turn to you for suggestions, ideas, names of other people, etc. This keeps you visible to them.

– Know Your Work: Have a clear understanding of what you do and why, your ideal customers, and what makes your doing it special or different from others doing the same thing. In order to get referrals, you must first have a clear understanding of what you do that you can easily articulate to others (i.e. your elevator pitch). Remember to have fun and enjoy yourself…People will see this and won’t be afraid to approach you (remember everyone else there is trying to build relationships as well).


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