Networking: How To Build A Community of Relationships

Networking is more than getting a job or finding someone to help you.  Networking is a community of relationships where everyone helps each other to be better and explore new opportunities.

How are you building your community of relationships? Below are my tips for how to network and build a community of relationships.

Come early.  Stay late.

The phrase the early bird gets the worm is applicable here.  Come early it’s the best time to meet people who are excited or have a passion for it.  Same for staying late you’ll meet those who are truly committed, you’ll find them trying to get every piece of information they can up until the last minute.  After an event is when most tend to relax and be themselves, you will be amazed at the type of connections that can be made.  Those who come early and stay late share a common interest and this commonality along is more than a conversation starter it’s a connection.

Be prepared

Be confident and come with a great attitude.  Charge your electronic devices or bring extra batteries for long days.  Bring extra everything if you can you never know who may need to borrow something from you.  Be familiar with your new gadgets its awkward exchanging contact information and you’re not sure how to use your own device.

Make a point during conversation

Have something to say and say it. Clear concise points are remembered and so will you.  Add to conversation and trim any fluff, keep a tightly focused conversation.

Know when to keep quite

There is a time and place for small talk, know when to keep quiet and listen.  Also know when to engage in fun or have a good time talking about everything.

Warm up cold contacts

As you extend your professional network pass helpful information on to those you have not seen or heard from in a while.  Trust me they will be grateful you took the time to contact them with useful information.  It’s about doing for others and it’s contagious, I’m sure they will do the same for you in the future and other people in their network.

Expand your circle of influence others during event

People should meet and learn about you so keep a clear concise message about new opportunities and be sure to share valuable information.  Catch up with old colleagues, friends and associates they may need to be caught up with your new opportunities.  Meet new people and expand your circle of influence.

Be targeted

Know the people you want to see.  Know what you want to ask and how you want to ask it.  Avoid asking yes or no questions because you will get a yes or no answer and the small fire to the conversation could quickly extinguish.  Learn to ask purposeful opened questions that generate conversation about whats important.

Ask purposeful open ended questions

Stay on topic and ask open ended questions to see what’s important or where the conversation could go.  Some information you know already so explore topics that are new and interesting to you.  After asking open ended questions listen to the answer.  Here are some examples of open ended questions:

–          What concerns do you have about topic?

–          What do you like best about that process?

–          How do you get involved?

–          What are your expectations of topic?

–          Give me an example of what you mean.”

–          How would you like to see it turn out?”

Follow up after event

Let your personal contact know you mean business.  Prior to follow up know the best way to follow up.  Be sure to ask for the best way to be contacted.  If you’re not able to ask this question try to remember your conversation was he/she tech savvy if so they will be apt to check their email for your message.  If new contact doesn’t like computers you may want to call.

Be Ready!

Have several ways for your new contact to reach you.  Here are a couple.

Business cards

You can get cool business cards from Moo.com.  Make your business card stand out it’s another way to be remembered.  It’s ok being remembered as the cool person with the awesome business cards.  If they’re interested in getting business cards like yours show them how to be cool just like you.

iPhone Apps

There are literally thousands of apps to assist in exchanging contact information. One iphone app I thought was cool was the Bump application.  This app allows for you to exchange contact information in seconds.

Meetup.com

Find a group near you and extend your network.  This website will show you hidden connections that you were not aware of.  A great way to network everyone there is interested in topic or passionate about it.  Just another great opportunity to learn more and pass it on!

Facebook

Almost everyone is connected via facebook.  It’s a great site for connecting and getting the pulse of what’s going on with old and new contacts.  Recommend early on whether or not if you want your facebook account to be used for friends and family or for professional connections.

LinkedIn

Exclusively for professional connects LinkedIn can be used to exchange info, ideas, & opportunity.  Stay informed about your contacts and industry.  Find the people & knowledge you need to achieve your goals.

Networking is about building your community of relationships.  Do you have cool tips for networking share with us below?

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