"Your network is your net worth"
While at the GW Monthly Networking Event, I was once again reminded of the value of networking. While it is honestly not my favorite thing to do, I have certainly learned to appreciate the value of forming relationships that can undoubtedly help you progress further than if trying to do it alone.
Here are a few tips that I've learned so far:
-Be prepared- You definitely want to have an abundant supply of business cards, flyers, brochures and whatever else can not only vividly represent you and/or your business but also leave a lasting impression on your new contacts. It is always better to have more than to run out prematurely. (VistaPrint offer great deals on business cards and other promotional items.)
*Attention job seekers: Giving someone your resume may not be appropriate in all situations, but having personal business cards with your contact information (and even a brief objective) is a GREAT investment.
-Be passionate- Passion is contagious, and it will boost your confidence. Even if they don't remember all of the details you share, they will certainly remember your energy and the feeling you left them with.
-Smile- Some networking situations can be aggressive and somewhat intimidating. However, simply smiling will invite others to approach you. It will also contribute to your confidence in approaching others as well. Plus, it will leave a good impression :-)
-Always seize the opportunity- any and every situation can be seen as a networking opportunity. There is always an opportunity to meet a new person, who could potentially hold something of value to you. Be willing to strike up conversation and find common ground in nontraditional settings (i.e. the airport, elevator, nail salon, etc.).
-Follow up!- it may be hard to remember every single person you meet. Following up with new contacts within 24 hours of meeting them is a great way to make sure they remember YOU and to take that connection a step further.
NetParty, The Phenomenal Women Group and Girlfriends Get-Together are known for hosting great networking events, and I recommend making it to one of their next events.
The first step is to go out there and sell yourself!