It’s pretty mind boggling to think about how much of technology today is putting emphasis on connecting, always having the ability to be in touch with anyone in an instant. There’s not just one way to stay linked; we have Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Youtube – so many different vehicles to connect people to people, to stay informed on everything your contacts are up to. There are literally so many options and ways to get your word out; which is why it’s more important than ever to get out and network.
You may be saying “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve heard this all before. That’s what everybody says.” So you think you’ve done everything to prepare, right? You’ve got your business lead lists, you know your usual networking ‘hotspots’- trade shows, conferences, seminars, etc. You go wherever your customers and prospects go. But networking is more than just meeting business contacts. It’s about building relationships. You should network to make business friends, not contacts. Where do you go to meet friends? Go there. Don’t just stick to ‘businessy’ environments, go to social events as well. Get involved in charities. Want high class [ie, high paying] prospects? Go to the theater. Host a talk-back. Find someplace where like-minded people belong. The point is, make yourself known.
The trick is to always be thinking business conscious, but keep your speech in the realm of conversation. Don’t get “pitch-y”. Don’t sound rehearsed. Build a friendship first, and the business will follow.