Networking Like a Pro: How to Get It Right
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
To make the most of networking, it pays to have a game plan and a giving attitude.
For some, networking is simply a way of life rather than a process or effort. Their personalities lead to natural introductions whether it be at a networking event, industry show, or company happy hour. For others, networking is a task – something they need to remind themselves of, and make an effort to stay diligent at.
Regardless of which camp a person falls into, having a game plan can help you get the most out of your networking efforts.
5 tips on growing your business through networking
From happenstance meetings at the airport, to planned visits at conventions and conferences, life in itself provides ample opportunities for networking. Here’s how to prepare yourself to make the most out of each introduction.
1. Research. Before attending a conference or networking event, assess the speakers and attendees to the best of your ability. Identify who makes the most sense for you to connect with and look them up online. Researching common ground, and how you might mutually benefit each other, ahead of time will not only make you stand out, your conversation will be more productive.
2. Set goals. Life is busy, and networking doesn’t have the same immediacy as deadlines, client meetings, or other business responsibilities. Putting networking events and meetings with those you’ve connected with on your agenda helps make them a priority, along with allowing you to monitor your execution.
3. Be sincere. Networking events can be overwhelming. Remember: you don’t have to talk to everyone. If during a conversation you notice you’re distracted or rushed, it’s likely your companion will notice too. It’s much more productive to take your time, relax, and have meaningful conversations, rather than trying to meet as many people as possible.
4. Be a teammate. If it turns out you don’t have anything to offer, or vice versa, that doesn’t mean it’s a dead end. You never know when that person might meet someone else who needs your services. If they need something you don’t provide, offer a recommendation, or to keep your ears open. The point is to let them know you’re on their side, then follow through on any commitments you do make.
5. 24-hour follow up. Following up within 24 hours shows you valued your discussion and are serious about what it entailed. If you offered to make a connection for them, or made other promises during your introduction, this is the perfect time to execute that promise, or to keep them up to date on your progress.
6. Maintain your network. Perhaps the most challenging aspect of networking is keeping the lines of communication active. In some cases there might only be the potential for working together somewhere down the road. Finding reasons to stay in touch will help keep you on their mind when the time comes to discuss business.
Networking means getting involved in the St. Louis community
If your networking goal is to get all you can for yourself, you’re missing out on a lot of value. By being involved with your community and helping others succeed, you’ll grow valuable, long-term relationships that will be well worth your investment in the process.
Baker’s Pride has been providing deliciously fresh bagels, gooey butter cakes, doughnuts, and much more to St. Louis’s hotels, coffee shops, schools, and churches since 1991. We’re proud to be a part of St. Louis tradition. For more information on how we can offer a little something special for your customers or guests, connect with us today.