One of the most important first steps in networking is making sure you have your elevator pitch prepared. This elevator speech should be a 2-3 line, quick little blurb about you and your company. This is essentially going to be people’s first impression of you. The idea is to introduce yourself and what you do in a casual way to start conversation. Make sure your passion shines through for what you do and that you smile. Passion and smiling are so contagious; you’ll definitely shine to whomever you speak to!
Networking is essentially building a trusting relationship with other professionals. It is a constant conversation so make sure you’re not doing all of the talking. Listening is just as important because you may know someone that can help out the person you’re talking to. Make sure you’re always connecting the dots. When you help someone out, he or she will be more willing to help you out.
Social media networking is a completely different ball game than traditional networking. To start off, find out which social platform your target audience prefers to use. From there, make sure you keep your message short, sweet and to the point. Remember to be patient and that you may never get a response. Just send the message and then, like Elsa, “Let It Go.”
If whomever you’re contacting does get back to you, it’s your lucky day! Make sure you’re being open with what you are asking for and that the conversation flows both ways. If you focus more on the relationship and conversation, it is more likely that the door will stay open for future collaborations.
The most important part of networking is to remember to follow up with who you’ve made connections with. By following up, you’re showing respect, interest and hopefully you begin to build valuable relationships and partnerships.
Need some practice? Consider joining one of our trademarked BRAG groups, attend next week’s Breakfast & Business on May 22nd or the upcoming After 5 event on June 25th!