Anyone professional will tell you that networking is key for growth and success in any industry, but the power lies in building relationships which go beyond the exchange of business cards. If approached strategically and accompanied by follow ups, networking is a vital and powerful tool that connects potential business partners.
At the end of a networking event, you have probably spoken to dozens of people and collected a variety of business cards. A stack of business cards is just that, unless you act upon them. Your next job is to be the person who goes above and and beyond to make yourself memorable by finding a way to connect on a personal level to each of those acquaintances that won’t be forgotten.
Here are a few ways you can leave a lasting impression and build relationships after your next networking event:
Be curious. It’s human nature that people love to talk about themselves or their business. Ask thoughtful questions to foster a sense of interest in both parties. Remember to be genuinely curious in the interaction and ask intentional follow up questions.
After each person you speak with, take a quick note on the back of their business card about the topic of discussion as well as something personal about them. These quick shorthand reminders will help you when you send a follow up email. If you provide context from your conversation, that person will remember you and appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Go into each interaction with no agenda except trying to make a friend. Networking events can be intimidating, but treat it as a social event with the goal of simply making a new friend. This tactic will allow you to not only be yourself, but also will build a genuine connection and relationship with someone you admire. This will in turn foster into a healthy and strong business partnership.
Remember, networking events are made up of people just like you. Stay true to yourself, be authentic and leave the sales pitch at home. People don’t want to be sold on something. Approach a networking event with the attitude of how you can help someone to naturally build a connection and turn into a long-lasting relationship.
Story by: Mariana Duarte