I Gotta Hand Out 50 More Cards

I gotta go give cards to 50 more people.

Got 30 seconds?

I’ll give you a tip to make your professional networking more productive.

 

Networking is not about the number of people you meet, it’s the quality of the conversations you have. If you’re going to an event that is specifically for networking you may be tempted to “work the room” to meet as many people as you possibly can. That can be a dangerous strategy. If you approach people, drop your introduction, then act antsy to move along they will sense it. That can make them less likely to open up to you. You could miss something important to you and them in your haste to collect more business cards. so slow down, networking is about meeting the right people, not meeting everyone.

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Always Be Prepared

Scouts-USMC-16307-PUBLICDOMAINWell it’s a new year! Some of you may have some new resolutions to get excited about. Maybe you’re not a fan of resolutions because you’re tired of making them and breaking them. I’m in the later camp myself.

I gave up on resolutions a few years ago in favor of a more holistic approach to getting where I want to be in life and business. Instead of resolutions, per se, I find that working to integrate skills and behaviors into my regular routine and process is much more effective. If I do that then I’m much more likely to stick with it. Either way hopefully you have set some goals for yourself to work towards in the coming months.

This year I decided to spend some time looking at who I need to meet. I’m focusing on my networking. I don’t have any specific goals about the number of people I want to meet, but I do have some goals about who I want to meet. Not only specifically who, as in specific persons, but generally who I need to connect with. I work well with business owners of small and mid-sized companies. This year I want to meet more of them.

Giving some thought to what types of people you want to connect with can help you in several ways. Here are a few:

1. It helps you evaluate your existing networking activities.
2. It helps you plan your future networking activities.
3. It helps you be on the lookout for specific people you want to meet.
4. It helps you be aware of what ‘types’ of people you want to connect with.

Once you now who you want to meet you can focus on how to engage them when you do meet them. Once you know who to look for you still have to initiate a conversation. So that is a good second ‘goal’ for the new year… get prepared to network no matter where you are.

We all network. We do it everywhere, whether we realize it or not. When you are at the office, at jobs sites, at social events and at business events you will meet people. Your job is to interact with those people you come into contact with. That’s where connections come from… those conversations you have every day. Better conversations means better potential connections. You never know when you will have the opportunity to meet someone on your list. So working on being ready for those conversations improves your chances of a productive interaction when you do.

You never know when you’ll meet that specific person you want to get introduced to. Or, more likely, you may meet someone who works in a company or industry that might make a good customer… or referral partner. If you’re not ready to share your story in an effective, interesting way… anywhere… you may miss out on a golden opportunity.

In order to make sure you can take advantage of those opportunities you really need to prepare yourself to naturally and comfortably discuss your business or job. When you are prepared to simply talk with people you can weave information about your company into a conversation. At that point you’re essentially ready for anything. That helps guarantee your success, regardless of the situation you find yourself in… and regardless of who you find yourself talking to.

It’s a very simple idea. Unfortunately simple doesn’t always mean easy. Preparing yourself means a lot more than just having an elevator speech memorized. There are many situations where whipping out the elevator pitch would be bad form… or inappropriate. Preparing yourself to network goes deeper than that.

Understanding when to talk and when to listen is critical. Knowing how to explain your company without losing people in industry jargon or buzzwords is vital. Being able to tell anyone about you while making the conversation about them is a valuable skill. Having the ability to introduce yourself in many different ways, that are all interesting, can help immensely. You will also have times when you need to exit a conversation gracefully, for any number of reasons.

All of these skills can be learned and integrated naturally into your networking conversations. When you master these and integrate them so they are seemless, you are truly ready for any conversation. It is possible, though it takes some effort. Achieving this level of comfort and skill can take your networking to the next level. That is what empowers you to talk to anyone about what you do, anywhere. It is what enables you to make the connections that are so vital to your business in the 21st century.

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You can follow Eric @pitchforsuccess on Twitter or on Facebook at PitchforSuccess

To get information on sharing this article or having Eric speak to your group email questions@pitchforsuccess.com

What, tell you more?

What? Tell you more? Uh… um… well.

Got 30 seconds?

I’ll give you a tip to make your professional networking more productive.

 

 

Introducing yourself well when you network is critical. Many of us work on our 45 second introduction. But what happens when someone wants to know more? Do you know what you will say? Asking for a business card to talk later can kill the momentum. They are interested NOW. You need to know what to say right then. You might find a connection that could lead to business… if you wait you may not get another chance.

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____________________________________________________________________

You can follow Eric @pitchforsuccess on Twitter or on Facebook at PitchforSuccess

To get information on sharing this article or having Eric speak to your group email questions@pitchforsuccess.com