How to Get The Most of Any Networking Opportunity

You’ve heard me say time and again how much “success” is such a subjective term. Perception is a powerful aspect of how we as people and professionals (as if those are two different things) are viewed, it is amazing to me how many of us still miss the point from time to time.

Just this week, I was invited to visit a networking event with one of my clients, whom I have networked with for years. My travel schedule makes it tough for me to be a regular member of a group that meets weekly, but I figured it could be a fun way to meet some new people. When it came time for my 60-second commercial (as a guest I was granted 120-seconds), I glanced down at a few notes I’d scribbled on an index card and just started talking. They laughed. They smiled. We connected. Isn’t that the goal? At the end of the meeting, several people in the group requested the opportunity to meet one-on-one over coffee to learn more, and one fellow even handed me a referral AT THE MEETING!

Here are a few tips to get the most out of any networking opportunity. Try these the next time you walk into a room full of strangers. You never know where your next opportunity or client will come from:

  1. BE CONFIDENT – You are who you say you are, if your actions are confident. You are a subject matter expert for what you do…ACT LIKE ONE! [Need help in this department? Visit a local Toastmasters club!]
  2. TELL A QUICK STORY – Which do you think is more memorable: a) “Hello, my name is ______ and I work for _________.” or b) “**insert a quick 30-45 second story about how you solved someone else’s problem**:..
  3. LET THEM KNOW HOW TO GET MORE INFO ABOUT YOU – Two great ways to do this are: a) direct them to YOUR website (ask them to connect with you on a professional, social networking site like “LinkedIn” or if your organization has a “Fan Page” on Facebook, direct them there or b) Tell the audience to ask the person who invited you to the meeting to tell them how you successfully worked with them! What’s better than a live, word-of-mouth success story from a CLIENT!?

Above all…If you don’t have any business cards (hey, sometimes we forget them or run out)…make sure to get one from everyone in the room and make it a point to follow up with each one directly! Anyone remember the hand-written note? It works! Now…get out there a find some business!

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