20 Tips for Successful Networking

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Get out there in traffic! Networking is the key to a successful career! Go to industry events! Never miss an opportunity for a coffee or lunch where a connection might be made! Networking is now an official part of any meeting agenda. Events are advertised (and priced) based on networking opportunities. A network is the new currency.

Sure, networking is important and highly encouraged but a network has not replaced skills or experience. A focus on developing a strong set of skills in places that matter might be more important than a network. But a network never hurt, so the next time you are invited to an event, consider these tips:

  1. Go. You won’t build a network by sitting at home watching NCIS reruns.
  2. Never sit next to an empty chair, or put your briefcase or bag on the seat next to your own.
  3. Have some questions in mind before you arrive. Not, “Do you come here often?” or “What is your sign?” Do not ask about Donald Trump.
  4. Look up. Keep your nose out of your phone. Others won’t interrupt your interaction with your device.
  5. Bring business cards. Give out at least twenty. Make sure others can read what’s on your card.
  6. Collect business cards from others. If others don’t have cards, ask how you can reach them.
  7. Introduce strangers you just met at the event to each other, even if you don’t remember their names. Ask, “Have you two met?”
  8. Notice something on others and make a positive comment. “Cool glasses, nice bow tie, interesting name, like the throw back saddle shoes.” You get the idea.
  9. Thank the host. Someone organized the event, find the host and say thanks.
  10. Don’t get drunk. Repeat, don’t get drunk.
  11. Don’t arrive too late; you will miss the rhythm of the event.
  12. If you want to meet someone, ask someone to make the introduction. Just like LinkedIn.
  13. Follow up with notes and emails to those that you met at the event.
  14. Ask those who you want to be a part of your network to get a coffee soon. One event may not be enough.
  15. Ask people if you can help them, even if you are not sure what that might mean.
  16. Find the best networkers and follow them around. They are easy to spot.
  17. Take a risk and meet the most famous person in the room. Don’t take a selfie unless you are sure it’s OK. Never mind, don’t take a selfie.
  18. Go with someone. Get competitive with them and see who can make the most connections.
  19. Don’t spend all of your time with people you already know.
  20. Smile. Be happy. Be optimistic. Look forward to the next networking event in a new place with a different crowd.

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