Advice Given for Making the Most Of Networking Opportunities

by WOHe

Advice Given for Making the Most Of Networking
Opportunities

Hackettstown, NJ You’ve just arrived at a kitchen/bath industry
function, and you don’t know anyone. What do you do head for the
hors d’oeuvres table, pace the room nervously or try an effort at
networking that may ultimately prove highly profitable?

The answer, according to the National Kitchen & Bath
Association, is to following the advice of Ivan Misner and Susan
RoAne, authors of the books Networking for Success and How to Work
a Room, respectively.

Among the tips offered by the NKBA, courtesy of the two authors,
are the following dozen:

  1. Don’t be afraid to approach people. Standing alone “doesn’t
    make sense today when you’re at a professional association meeting
    where contacts and connections are standing six deep around the
    room,” the NKBA observes. “You’ll miss tremendous business, career
    and social opportunities.”
     
  2. Develop several different ways to start conversations. These
    can include commenting on the reason for the event, or asking
    others why they chose to attend.
     
  3. Know how to describe your business in one or two sentences,
    including a story about how you handled a recent project or
    assisted a client.
     
  4. Know what you wish to accomplish at the event. For example,
    your purpose may be meeting a certain number of people, or finding
    a particular resource.
     
  5. Be sure your actions are appropriate for the event. For
    instance, a networking-type of event is far more appropriate for
    developing business connections than, say, a formal social
    gathering.
     
  6. Come prepared. Carry business cards, a pen and even a small
    notebook for making notes that are too extensive to fit on the back
    of a business card. Exchange business cards when appropriate, and
    make notes on the back of other people’s cards or in your
    notebook.
     
  7.  Be positive, friendly and enthusiastic. Take the
    initiative 
    in starting conversations. Listen more than you talk, and avoid
    making negative comments about the location, the food, the
    guests 
    or your host.
     
  8. Try to limit the time you spend with each person you meet.
    Excuse yourself gracefully and politely, so that both you and the
    person to whom you’re speaking can circulate and meet a variety of
    people.
     
  9. Provide a good lead or referral whenever possible. Listen for
    the need. Tell the prospect you know someone who offers that
    service, and describe the person or company you have in mind. Ask
    the prospect if it’s all right to have that person call. Above all,
    don’t knowingly supply poor leads to someone you meet.
     
  10. Follow up in a timely manner with the people you meet and the
    contacts they give you. In addition, send a thank you note to
    sources of new connections, and keep them informed of your
    progress. If your follow up is weak, people will feel you don’t
    make good on your word.
     
  11. Bring your “whole self” to the event your personal side and
    range of interests, as well as your business side.
     
  12. Never stop networking. “It’s a good idea to maintain and
    continuously expand your professional networks,” suggests the NKBA.
    “You never know when you’re going to need a future reference.”

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