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10 Business Networking Basics

Source | LinkedIn : By Edwin Dearborn

To succeed in business networking you cannot be egocentric, aggressive, or too eager to hand out your cards to everyone in the room.

Those who succeed with business networking show a sincere interest in those that they contact and engage with. They work hard to develop a genuine relationship, establish their credibility, and to share valuable insight and information.

Here are ten key basics, tips, and techniques to make you networking more enjoyable and effective.

  1. Make it enjoyable. If you walk in a room disgruntled or feeling like you “have to”, then you’re sabotaging your own efforts and valuable time. Personally, I love networking and meeting people. If you don’t, then skip it. Because most everyone will sense it.
  2. Look sharp and act like a professional. I always make an effort to look smart. I wear a sport coat, a pocket square, a nice shirt, and polished shoes. Stand out in how you look and act. People can recognize a professional when they see one and are attracted to connect with them.
  3. Have a clear understanding of what you do and why. In order to get resonate with others and to generate new business, you must first have a clear understanding of what you do so that you can easily articulate your Why to others.
  4. Locate the proper individuals. Connect with those you can resonate with, personally and in business. Spending time with those who will not benefit you, or visa versa, is not what networking is about. And when you do find the right fit, stay with that person and build a quality connection.
  5. Make your elevator pitch short and memorable. Tell me in 10 words or less what you do. Make it valuable to your audience’s needs and goals. If it takes you hours to figure out your pitch, it’s time well spent. Mine: “I help ambitious brands generate high-quality leads.”
  6. Do twice as much listening and you do talking. You were given two ears and one mouth. That 2-to-1 ratio should be a clear indicator. People who talk on and on are boring or annoying. Those who listen and respond with interest are considered valuable allies.
  7. Don’t sell, but tell. Engage people with genuine stories. Talking about the features of your product or service, and how amazing it all is, will kill conversations. To interest others in what you have to offer, tell a good story.
  8. Follow through quickly and efficiently. Success is built on follow through. Very few are good at this valuable skill. “I can give you a six-word formula for success: Think things through – then follow through” – Sir Walter Scott
  9. Serve others. Networking and Life are similar. We live to serve others. Be someone who is more interested in adding value than getting something. The returns will be greater when you live to serve others.

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