Taking a proactive approach to networking is key to building the types of lasting relationships that can help you and your company grow and succeed. However, this is much easier said than done, especially for people who think they aren’t good networkers. Anybody has the ability to learn the skills necessary to become a good networker, and practice makes perfect! Whenever I think about networking, I like to remember Susan Roan’s 10 Commandments of Networking from her book, How to Work a Room.
- Prepare – Come to the event with a great attitude and a powerful self-introduction. Remember, you want to differentiate yourself and give the people you meet the impression of, “hey, this person sounds very different and potentially more valuable than everyone else.”
- Attend – Don’t ever be afraid to go; remember to act like a host, not a guest.
- Try Strategies That Feel Comfortable – Go with a buddy and work together. Talk to people who look uncomfortable – they will love you for doing so. Bring your listening skills and let the people you meet be the center of attention. If they like you, you’ll have plenty of time in the follow up to be the star.
- Say Something, Anything – Come armed with information for conversation. Today it’s easier than ever with apps like Flipboard and The Skimm to get the kind of information that helps in conversation.
- Mind Your Manners – Etiquette is always crucial; not that people remember good etiquette, but they will remember bad behavior.
- Avoid The Common Crutches – I always remember, in a bad way, the people who are chronically late. Also don’t be known for your eating or drinking habits. Do not spend the whole evening with your buddy; at some point, spread out.
- Remember the 3 E’s: Effort, Energy and Enthusiasm – These qualities are the types of qualities that people you meet remember after the event. It’s important to be remembered in a good way.
- Dress Appropriately – Business casual might be okay in the office, but for networking events you want to look like the most successful person in the room. Dress so people think of you in that light.
- Be Courteous, Caring, Charming and Memorable – Leave them thinking: “I want to get to know you better.” Remember what I said above, “Hey, this person sounds very different and potentially more valuable than everyone else.”
- Bring Your Sense of Humor – But always be appropriate and tasteful. You can tell jokes or funny anecdotes but “family humor” is what you want to strive for. People appreciate funny, great stories.
In summary, your goal is to be remembered in the best way possible, and, whatever you do, you MUST follow up. What is the point of going if you don’t?
If you are considering ways to establish and grow relationships with practice leaders from around the country, consider joining a Rainmaker Niche Community, attend our upcoming SuperConference to meet and learn from some of the industry’s top growth-focused leaders, or contact us for a complimentary consultation on how Rainmaker can help enhance your firm’s growth culture. The Rainmaker Companies can help you Grow Your Firm or Grow Your Practice.