How to Network Effectively

Networking is one of the best ways to begin building or continue building relationships in your business. The reason that relationships are so important is that the people you are interacting with could potentially be your next client or a referral to your next client. How then can you network effectively?

Do your homework on networking groups – Regardless of the business you are in there is likely a networking group you can join. Begin by searching networking groups in your area and reading about them to see which ones seem like a good fit for you. Take a look at the member directory if its public, read their posts, visit their social media pages – see which businesses they are interacting with and talking about.

Pick one or two to try out – Once you have researched the groups you will have an idea of the types of people that are in them and after you have settled on one or two sign up as a guest for their next event. Before you head to one of the events make sure you have an ample stock of business cards. Most networking events host 20-50 people so be sure to bring enough business cards for at least 50 people. Better to have plenty and not need them than to not have enough and run out!

Research again after signing up for an event – Nowadays many networking events are posted to social media giving you a chance to research who will be at the one you’re attending. See if you can look up some of the attendees before you go to get a feel for who you want to make sure you speak with.

Mingle like an extrovert – Going to an event just to munch on hors d’oeuvres and sip wine in a corner is pointless. You could have just stayed at home to do that. Get out there and talk to people. If you are uncomfortable with talking to strangers at least go up to the event host and introduce yourself and explain who you are. This way they will likely introduce you to at least one person you can talk to.

Follow up – Try to get a business card from every person you meet and then follow up with them via email within 24-48 hours after the event has concluded. Ask them if they have needs for your products or services and give them a call to action to reach out to you if they or anyone they know might want to talk to you more about your business.

Visit http://networkingtampabayevents.com/ for an extensive list of networking events around the Tampa Bay area.

And ladies, be sure to check out Charity Chics www.charitychics.com, On Point Executive Center’s women’s networking group.

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