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Four Tips For Non-Obnoxious Networking

April 22, 2011

Filed under: Business

We’ve been doing the networking rounds lately. It’s amazing the type of businesses and people you meet. As a business owner, the main reason for attending these events is to build relationships and form a professional  link to help refer business on to one another. Why do you attend networking events or forums?

We recently read this excerpt on a email newsletter we received from Marketing Profs:
If you want to step up your networking activities, but you're not quite sure how, Rohit Bhargava has some advice. "The challenge isn't how you can find more opportunities to network," he writes at Influential Marketing, "but how to talk about business in an unobtrusive way."

To accomplish that goal, he offers tips like these:

Hone your conversational skills
Your networking strategy will fail before it begins if no one enjoys talking with you. According to Bhargava, great conversationalists ask leading questions, listen intently to answers and add their own personal stories to the mix.

Create a distinctive nametag
Bhargava decorates his nametags with a sticker of his book's chicken icon. "People want to know why I have that sticker there," he says, "and it gives me a chance not just to share the story of my book, but also to talk about my philosophy of business—which is that personality matters."

SPINN: My business cards says – Chief Inspiration Officer – just under my name and it instantly becomes a talking point and ice-breaker.

Make friends with introducers
"These are the people," he says, "who always come to a moment in their conversations where they say something like 'oh, you do _______? You should talk to _____.'" Introducers are more likely to provide introductions, he notes, when you've made a favourable impression with your conversational ability.

Respect the nature of the event
Unless you're at a networking event—when you can dive right in—always evaluate the situation before you start talking business.

Don’t go into these events thinking you’re there to ‘sell’ your business. Walk in with the intention of making new connections and look at who you can help, professionally. That’s what we do and it’s worked well for us. You may have another way of looking at it. And you know what else? The wealth is in the follow-up. Yes, don’t just collect those business cards and let it go into storage. Write down some memory joggers at the back of the card, like which event you met. Drop everyone an email after the event, telling them how much you enjoyed meeting them the day before. Make plans to catch up for coffee and learn a little bit more about them. Here's where you may start to find synergies or avenues to work together and help one another.

Tags: networking, business, marketing, connections

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