Networking can be difficult (or even downright intimidating). And no matter how much you do it, there's always room for improvement. That's why we've gathered top networking event tips from event industry experts. They're sharing all the latest in how to build business relationships and expand your social circle.
1. Focus on long-lasting relationships, not short-term transactions.
"Networking is really just a fancy word for relationship building. If you play the long-game, caring more about who people are, not what they can do for you, you'll find much more success than seeking transactional, short-term interactions."
2. Provide value.
“Great networkers provide great value to all those they meet. They realize that you must give before you get. Networking in that respect is similar to fundraising in that there must be cultivation before solicitation.”
– Dr. John B. Charnay, CEO of Charnay and Associates in Greater Los Angeles, a top super-networker and super-connector and a leading authority on philanthropy, fundraising, and public relations
3. Use your time well.
"Time goes by fast! Know your goal. Get right to the point in your intro and share the main thing you want people to remember about you."
– Teresa Thomas, Win/Win Networking Author, Presenter and Facilitator
4. Make your follow-up memorable.
"There is power in a handwritten Thank You note! Few people discard handwritten correspondence -- it's like getting a gift. It will cost you very little to send... and it will be priceless on the receiving end."
– Alana Muller, networking speaker, workshop facilitator, coach, and the author of the book, "Coffee Lunch Coffee: A Practical Field Guide for Master Networking"
5. Stay curious.
"When you don’t know how to start a conversation, start by being curious. Ask a question you actually want to know the answer to. Listen and probe or listen and share and take the conversation where it leads."
– Michelle Tillis Lederman, Connection Instigator, Author "The 11 Laws of Liability"
6. Networking is about more than building a sales pipeline.
"Networking is about relationship-building. Sell through the room, not to the room."
7. Be intentional in your networking efforts.
"Build your network with focus and intention. Start with your career goal in mind and then decide who you know and who you need to know to help you reach that goal."
– Bonnie Marcus, Keynote Speaker, Published Author, Forbes Columnist, and Certified Executive Coach
8. Follow up is just as important as a first impression.
"Follow up in a timely fashion and in the manner preferred by the recipient. Saying 'I don’t have a card; I'll use my phone to invite you to LinkedIn or Facebook,' may make sense to the techie, but the person who prefers to “see you in print” before they get offloaded to a list, should get one from you. It’s called marketing."
– Susan RoAne, Keynote Speaker and Author of The Secrets of Savvy Networking