In the business world, there comes a time that you have to network with others, for various reasons, whether it’s for your own business or if you work for a corporation. Most people fear interacting with a stranger, especially when it comes to breaking the ice, here are a few tips that will help your business networking:
1.Be prepared: Make sure to always have in handy your own business cards, a few business cards of people that you could refer and if possible a small brochure of your company to give out.
2. Refer: If you meet someone that can’t help you directly but they can help someone you know-don’t be shy and give that person all the information. This also counts the other way around, if you know someone that can help them -let them know. They will appreciate your willingness to help without expecting anything in return.
3. Be a host: When at an event, ask to help out, maybe greeting people. This will take the pressure off and you will probably interact with more potential business partners.
4. Listen effectively: Listening is a great skill to have, and also asking the right questions. As you listen to the person you can ask more in depth questions to know exactly what the person wants and needs.
5. Ask: When asking questions just think of the following: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How.
6. Business card exchange: When it comes down to exchanging business cards a good rule of thumb is to ask for it at the end of the conversation, doing so will allow you to write something in the back of the card about that person so you can remember.
7. Follow up: After the event or meeting, don’t wait to long to follow -up, not more than a day or two. The best way is to write a thank you card but a simple thank you e-mail will do as well.
8. Respond promptly: It is always good to respond to requests or questions fast, the same day if possible, even if it is to say that you do not have the answer yet but you are looking into it.
9. Join Chambers: Check out the chambers in your area. Chambers are great place to network with different kind of individuals that maybe you would not meet in a normal work day.