Networking Like a Pro

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I’m gonna let you in on a little secret.

When it comes to networking events, no one really started out like a pro—no one even started out feeling extremely confident.

The truth is, some of us just faked it long enough that now we believe it!

Going to a networking event, especially for the first time, can certainly add a little anxiety to the work day. The key is to just relax and have fun.

You’re going to meet some great people, and if you hang in there long enough, you may even be able to begin some relationships.

Not sure where to start networking? Having trouble finding these events in the first place? Click here to learn exactly how to begin.

Here’s a few tips for maximizing your networking efforts:

1. Plan

At every networking event, you’ll have the opportunity to share about your business.

Sometimes it’s a 30-second commercial for the group, but more often it’s a one-on-one conversation.

Since it’s pretty much guaranteed that this will happen, plan for it!

Take 15 minutes to prep before you go to the event. Think about the type of people that will be attending and what problems they may have that you could help with.

Come up with 3 bullet points that cover how you provide solutions to their problems, solutions that are unique to them.

Keep it short and sweet! Then bingo, there’s your business spiel.

2. Bring Goodies

I don’t mean literally pick up baked good—I mean bring something valuable that you can leave with people.

Don’t just leave a plain old flyer or brochure filled with so much text it’s an instant eye sore. Print out a blog post that you think would be interesting to the group, one that aligns with your 3 bullet points from above.

A blog post or article is a great start—if you don’t have one, write one. For example:

“Blue Steele Solutions helps small business owners ensure they make the most out of their marketing dollars”

The spiel above starts by ensuring we’re marketing to the right people. In this scenario, I would bring our Target Audience Worksheet as a tool to leave behind. The worksheet helps business owners ensure they know their target audience so they can most effectively reach out to them and stay relevant.

3. Have Fun

Remember you’re there to meet other people, so have fun!

You may not say or do the exact right thing every time, but if you at least have fun while you’re doing it, then it’s worth it.

Don’t worry—you’ll get better as time goes on—practice makes perfect (almost anyways!)

While you’re there, consider taking a few pictures and posting them on your social media, and tag people in your posts! This can be a great way to mingle and connect.

Get Out There and Connect with Someone!

Now you’re practically a pro, so start scoping out the next area event—you might just find your next big client there!

Not sure what to do after you’ve networked (many people aren’t!) Read my post on how to follow up after a networking event.

Are you a networking pro already? I want to know your secret! What’s your go-to tip for us to become networking pros?

Heather Steele

After almost a decade of marketing in a corporate setting, she tired of being a corporate cog and decided to go it alone, bootstrapping a business based on one simple principle:   Partnership.   Follow her on Twitter @heathersteele03, LinkedIn, or our blog to learn how to turn your business into a beast.

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