4 Networking Tips To Pay Attention To

If you’re reading this post, you either have an interest in sharpening your networking skills, or would like to validate what you’re currently doing at events is on track.

Why am I sharing these 4 Tips?
Well, it’s a combination of frustration watching people just not having the training or experience when it comes to their networking skills and hearing from people who quit organizations (i.e. Chambers) because they weren’t able to generate connections / business.

Allow me to elaborate.

Poor Networking Experience #1 – Handing Out Brochures
I was asked to speak at a breakfast event and as I usually do, arrived early to prepare.

While I was putting things together, at the corner of my eye, I noticed an individual walking up and down the aisles placing brochures on each chair.  Yes, you read right, he was placing brochures on each chair!

But wait, I’m not finished! Not just that, the individual proceeded to arbitrarily hand out his business card to each person who entered the room without any dialogue whatsoever!

Do you think they generated any meaningful connections?

Poor Networking Experience #2 – Forcing Business Cards on people
I attended a networking event courtesy of a Chamber.  The event attracted a fair amount of attendees and therefore a great opportunity to connect with others.  You would think people would maximize the opportunity.

Not the case my friends.

Yet again, I was amazed and just simply shook my head when I was approached by an individual who preceded to hand me their business card and just walked away.  Absolutely no dialogue, not even a “hello my name is…”  What was additionally shocking was they were representing one of Canada’s banks!

If you don’t want to be like these individuals in any of the two examples, please take a few minutes and review the following 4 Networking Tips.

Tip #1 – Don’t give your business card to every Tom, Dick and Harry.
As my second example, most people give their business cards to anyone and everyone they see and the unfortunate part is they will never be contacted by these people.  They just throw them away.

Take the time and get to know the individual and find out if there is a possible connection to either work together or be part of your referral partner network.  If there is an opportunity, then ask them for their card.

When I ask for a card it’s because I truly want to carry on our conversation and will call that person for a further meeting.

Tip #2 – Don’t be clingy
For most individuals (especially if they come in groups), it’s most comfortable to chat with peers or individuals they recognize and know.  Remember, the whole point of attending a networking event is to make NEW connections and to practice your networking skills; especially the tips you’re reading in this post!

Tip #3 – Don’t be afraid to ask questions
As the saying goes “there is no stupid question” so fire away!  The vast majority of individuals that I’ve connected with relish the opportunity to talk about their successes, expertise, and their journey on how they go to where they are.

Make sure you ask as many questions as you can.

Tip #4 – Don’t forget to follow-up
I can’t stress the importance of follow-up.  This is especially key with those who you had an awesome connection and have a strong potential of being a great referral partner.

So there you go, some tips you should consider putting into action at your next networking event.  Keep in touch. Send me a note at javed {at} empression(.)ca and let me know how it went.

Happy Networking!

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