Networking for Engagement

October 1, 2013
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IMUSM 3Business networking is very important here in the Mid-Atlantic. This is especially true if you are seeking  new career opportunity, building a start-up small business, or looking for strategic relationships. As important as it is to network with success, it is never easy to be consistently good at it. In this relationship-driven opportunity, many individuals are coming out of corporate and heading into more self-managed considerations. Yet, they must network to get opportunity. Although there are a number of local networking events in and around the Mid-Atlantic, it takes some planning on your part to make the most of the contacts you will meet and the time you will spend meeting them.

Many professionals are indeed new at networking and they do not do it with winning friends and influencing people in a positive way in mind. As a possible sign of achievement, many new at the process simply count the number of business cards they have given out and received, or they add up how many  individuals they shook hands with at the various networking opportunities.

Here are 10 solid strategies for both relationships and engagement:

  • Be you: Unless you have hidden agendas that will eventually hurt you, be genuine in meetings and conversation. First impressions are everything.
  • Show self-confidence: Although meeting new people at a networking event can be stressful for some, a solid level of professional confidence can go a long way at being remembered.
  • Give helpful opinions: Everything that can be said can be said in a positive way. People tend to avoid and walk away from negativity.
  • Be communicative: Knowing your business and what you really do are very important. This will create the opportunity for solid conversation.
  • Know when to be quiet: Discretion is very important. No one wants to hear your life story during any networking event. 
  • Dress for opportunity and success: Leave the T-shirt and sandals at home. Business casual goes a long way.
  • Ask for advice: Wait until the relationship grows a little bit before seeking help and guidance.   Build a relationship over a period of time and earn the right to ask for counsel.
  • Say thank you and drop an e-mail: If someone makes an impression or you want to continue a relationship, drop an e-mail or a card in a short note of thanks.
  • Document all networking results: Putting notes together about people, ideas and discussions are great for both growth and opportunity. Make sure you add dates to all activities. Remember names and faces. Place a note or two on the back of their business card to help your memory.  
  • Use Social Media:  Checking people out through their professional profiles gives great insight into who they are and what they are all about. Twitter, Linked-In, and Business Facebook offer a lot of information.

Remember, be yourself. This strategy is the best one of all!

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This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of the Mid-Atlantic, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in the Mid-Atlantic areaWe’d love to connect with you on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Photo: IMU Social Media

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