January 8, 2015

Networking Fundamentals

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To run successful business, it’s essential to reach out to prospective partners and clients on a regular basis. However, many of us dread the idea of walking into a room and introducing ourselves to strangers—so making those initial connections can be tough.

Networking is a great opportunity to make business contacts and recruit new prospects. While it might seem like a difficult task, in reality it doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable experience.

To ease yourself into a “networking mind-set,” speak to people everywhere you go. This is a great way to practice conversation, as well as your active listening skills. Get into the habit of chatting with folks without the stressor of needing to do a sales-pitch or the pressure of fellow colleagues around you. This will help you get comfortable with more casual conversation and will make it much easier when the time comes to go to a convention or event.

Make a positive impression by having an upbeat attitude, as people wish to work and connect with those who are confident as well as optimistic. This assertiveness will increase your chances of a lasting impression; however, always remember to remain genuine. Being overly gung-ho or coming across fake can turn off those around you.

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Follow up with those you connect with. At many events and opportunities, business cards can be rapidly exchanged. Keep track of those cards and when you have a new contact, be sure to contact with them via email or connect with them on a social site such as LinkedIn within twenty-four hours. A simple, “It was fantastic to chat with you yesterday!” can go a long, long way.