Part of your marketing strategy will involve networking events or mixers where you will meet new people and develop relationships. Expanding your networking circle requires engaging acquaintances and strangers in conversation, so start thinking of strangers as people who can bring you business opportunities.
Ten tips for better networking are:
1.) Fuel the conversation. Smile, introduce yourself and make an effort to remember names.
2.) Be clear about your intentions. You are there to develop relationships.
3.) Brush up on your icebreakers. What brought you here? Tell me about your business? How long have you been a member of this group?
4.) Choose your topics wisely. Avoid controversial ones.
5.) Have an answer to “What’s new?”
6.) Be aware of your body language.
7.) Give positive feedback on business-related issues.
8.) Exit gracefully. Be honest and say that you want to circulate and meet some other folks.
9.) Say thank you for connecting with them and learning about their business.
10.) Be accountable. If you said you would get back to them about something, do it in a timely matter.
Carefully observe people’s behaviour in order to learn about them. Becoming skilled at networking events takes practice, but it is worth it. You never know who you will meet and how it will affect your business in the future.
Look professional for events, and always carry enough business cards for larger networking events and keep them handy. Also, create a follow up system with your new contacts, especially if you are meeting many people and have trouble remembering names and faces.
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