Networking allows you to build long-lasting, professional relationships inside and outside your industry. There are many reasons people network. The most important advice is you should be purposeful in your networking. Here are 5 tips you should keep in mind as you build your professional network:
- Avoid attending every networking event. Time is precious and you do not have enough time to attend them all. Do research on the types of individuals you’d like to connect with to identify which events they might attend. Then, target those particular events.
- Just like you wouldn’t go into a meeting unprepared, don’t go to a networking event unprepared. Bring business cards to pass out to the people you meet. You can introduce yourself and your business without business cards, but the odds of people remembering that information are slim, especially when they do not have a reminder. You should also consider bringing brochures for those that seem particularly interested in your business.
- Speaking of reminders, when someone gives their business card to you, it is a wise idea to write key information about them or their business on the back of their card. This type of system will jog your memory, especially when some time has passed since you met.
- Follow up with those you meet at an event. Within a day or two, connect with them on LinkedIn and write an email to the individuals with whom you would like a genuine connection.
- Follow up on a regular basis. This could be as often as once a quarter or as little as twice a year. It can be as easy as forwarding a relevant article to them and including a couple sentences about what you’re currently doing and asking them what they’re working on.
People do business with those they trust, so create then maintain genuine connections. Follow up and sincerity in your interactions are the key to successful networking.