By Marcel L. Johnson
Networking can serve as a lifeline to your business, product or service. Here are six tips to keep in mind as you network professionally during this holiday season!
1. Commit to networking! If you are an entrepreneur or business person, make a commitment to attend a few networking events this holiday season, because it allows you to come into contact with people you don’t generally get a chance to meet one-on-one and can serve as a lifeline to your business.
2. Be choosy about the invites you accept. Pour over your invites, and make sure the events you attend either relate to your industry or an industry you are trying to connect with. If you don’t receive a personal invite, don’t let that stop you. Simply search social networking sites, such as, LinkedIn, Face Book, Twitter and Eventbrite, to plug into industry-related events.
3. Don’t be shy, introduce yourself! Determine to reach out to others at the events. Maybe you are an introvert. No problem. You will probably see a few folks by themselves with a glass in their hands, just looking around and smiling. Go over and introduce yourself to them. A good conversation starter could be, “Hello…my name is_____________. You look like someone I need to meet.”
4. Look for ways to gift someone’s business. Find out about them and see how you might be able to help them with their business goals, or put them in contact with someone who can. Notice I said, “help them”, because as you do, the law of reciprocity will immediately go into effect, to come back to you.
5. Be in the moment! Remember that perception is everything. When a person is speaking with you, make eye contact. Don’t scan the room while they are talking. It gives the impression that you are not listening and aren’t really interested in what they have to say. So, make your conversation stand out by being attentive and asking thoughtful questions.
6. Timely Follow-up. If you get an email address, send them a friendly note soon after the event expressing your delight in meeting them, and let them know you’ll be in touch after the holidays to continue the conversation.
Above all, have fun! Even though you are networking to rub elbows with fellow industry leaders and perspective clients, don’t forget to have a good time. After all, “tis the season to be jolly!”
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ABOUT MARCEL L. JOHNSON
Marcel L. Johnson is an award-winning public relations professional and freelance writer who specializes in assisting aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs in finding their voice, articulating their message, and amplifying it to their target audiences using public relations, branding and social media. Visit her website at www.silentliaison.com, or follow her on Twitter @silentliaison.