Do you find yourself attending networking groups over and over again with nothing to show for it? Oh sure you’re meeting people, exchanging cards and maybe even connecting on Facebook or Twitter. But are you wasting your time?
1. Do the math. How much are you spending at each networking event? Add up your time, your expense for a meals or drinks, and additional costs associated with the group. If you have been attending the same group for more than 3 months and don’t have a new client or customer to show for it, it’s time to move on.
2. Do follow-up. Email the people you met at a networking event and offer an opportunity to connect again. It’s amazing how many people miss this. At a recent event for one of my clients, over 50 people attended. Only one of those 50 followed up with an email. What’s the point of gathering contact information if you don’t do anything with it.
3. Do not talk too much. Have you ever met someone who won’t shut up. They seem to be talking at you and not to you. Don’t be that person! If you are, people will start to avoid you like the plague.
4. Do Listen. Did you know that the word silent can be made from the word listen? Coincidence? I think not. How will you ever learn what your potential client or customer wants or needs if you are not actively listening to what they are saying.
5. Do ask questions. I have said many times “networking is like dating”. You have to get to know the person. What better way to do that than ask questions? You should also jot down notes after your conversation to refer back to.
Time really is money, so don’t waste it.