Networking your way to success
Today’s post is written as a resource for the Kent State University Entrepreneur Extravaganza where I will be a presenter with Chris Brown of Marketing Resources & Results. To see Chris’ post, click here.
Networking is about knowing who is a good prospect. Are you looking for a job, new clients or potential investors? Friends and colleagues who know your target audience can also help with introductions and referrals. Referrals, networking and target marketing go hand in hand. So, first, determine your target audience. Reference this article:
Referrals: You Are Responsible for Painting the Picture – Part One.
What to say. Create and then practice a 10-20 second opening statement to answer the question of what you do (or what you might be looking for as a student). Keep your phrase positive, free of jargon and “outcome-based.”
Working the room. Networking is NOT running around the room handing out as many business cards as you can. Plan ahead of special events and target those you want to meet. Speak to event organizers and obtain the attendee list. Study the list, note centers of influence and arrive early to maximize your networking time. When the meeting is called to order, do not sit with friends or colleagues. Remember, an empty chair next to you reduces your networking time by 50%.
Follow up. How can you set yourself apart and be the one people remember? Write follow up notes. Not an email or a text message, but a hand written note. Mention an interesting fact or comment about something you learned while actually listening to people during networking. Having a business card is key to obtaining their card. It is difficult to send a note if you do not have their card.
Where to network. Just about anywhere, if you are prepared. Have your business cards with you at all times. Know your audience through preparation. Depending on your goals, networking at peer groups may not yield the same results as groups where your colleagues are not present.
Social media sites. We’ve been social beings a long time. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are just new tools for the same objective. Balance your profiles personally and professionally and by all means keep them clean. Learn the etiquette of each site and harness the nuances. Reference:
COSE meeting is all atwitter over pros, cons of social media.
Take your networking to the next level and help others network. Reference: The Culture and Ethics of Referral-Based Marketing Programs – Part Two.
I look forward to networking with you in person and around the Internet.
Robert M. Felber, MAS
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