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Bring wine when networking

Would you really take wine to every networking event? Probably not so let me explain…

Chris Brogan wrote a story in his blog about social media and not being ‘that guy’. In short, the story is that if you’re going on a picnic with friends take a bottle of wine rather than just coming along and eating everyone else’s food. Sounds obvious in that context doesn’t it?

The same principle applies in networking (Chris was specifically referring to social media but I am putting it together with all networking). People will respond better if you give something of value rather than if you just try taking.

So if someone at an event or on a forum says “I’m having trouble writing some promotional articles“, I could answer with “What questions do people often ask about your industry? Answering those questions is a good place to start your articles. Here are some tips in my blog.”

Or I could be that guy and answer with “I write articles – you should pay me. Did you know I could also write your website and I …”

Effective networking is about building relationships rather than selling yourself.

Here are some networking tips off the top of my head:

  1. hand out business cards to selected people rather than everyone in reach
  2. remember things about people you network with – jotting down some notes soon after helps – to show you are interested
  3. be generous and show an abundant mentality – tell others about great promotional opportunities, give your opinion and expertise, link to other blogs/websites whether or not they link back, and so on
  4. smile! It’s much more inviting than a scowl, and it can even change your voice if you are on the phone
  5. introduce people to each other. For example, a friend mentions needing a plumber and you met one last week at a networking event – give your friend those contact details. It also means introducing people looking alone at an event too
  6. use people’s names – it means a lot to them and using it soon after hearing it helps you to remember it, too
  7. don’t be afraid to ask for help (not for business mind you) as it shows you are human and you give people a chance to help. Maybe you ask for referrals to a service, opinions on a decision you need to make or for understanding a technical issue.  Pretending to know everything and be perfect is likely to alienate people than attract them

What other tips do you have for effective networking?

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