"It's not what you know, it's who you know."
This old saying rings true in everything we do, especially in
business. Finding contacts is key to the success of your
business, and a great place to meet these contacts is at
networking meetings or events. It is not enough just to
attend networking gatherings, you need to know how to
network. There are many sources of networking tips and
information, but the following are ten tips that I find most
1. Set a goal prior to the event
Figure out who will be in attendance. Decide who you would
like to target and what you would like to take away from the
event. Having a specific goal will ensure that you remain
focused and will have success.
2. Pre-plan personal greeting
You need to get a person's interest right away or you've lost
your chance. Planning a personal greeting before hand will
be very helpful. The greeting should be not more than thirty
seconds long, interesting, informative and about you. You
need to sell yourself before you can sell a product or
3. Be first to arrive and last to leave
The longer you stay, the more contacts you will meet.
4. Be aware of how you smell
Sounds funny? It's really a very important part of how
people react to you. Do not smell like a cigarette. Many
people find it very disgusting, and it can create a negative
first impression. Also, your favorite perfume or cologne may
not be another person's favorite. Be sure that when
applying these scents that you do so lightly. A strong scent
can be overbearing and force people to go as far from you
as they can.
5. Be positive and enthusiastic
Nobody like to be rejected, but if you don't at least try to talk
to someone you may lose out on an opportunity. Keeping a
positive attitude will increase the positive results.
Additionally, nobody wants to be around an unhappy person.
Be sure that you are in an upbeat mood before you enter the
event and keep smiling the entire time.
6. Spend time with people you don't know
Although it is okay to spend some time with acquaintances
you've already made, the majority of your time should be
spent meeting new people. People with whom you are
already friendly know what you offer. Networking meetings
should enable you to expand your contact list.
7. Say the other person's name three times
A person's name is a pleasing sound for them. In addition,
repeating the name will help you to remember it. People are
really impressed when you remember their name the next
time that you see them after you had only met briefly before.
8. Collect business cards with a purpose
When you leave you have a stack of business cards, great?
It is only good to have a lot of business cards if each one
allows you to an action. They should have notes on the
back giving you a follow up opportunity with the person.
9. Learn what the other person does
You don't want to spend all of your time explaining what you
do. First, find out what the other person does. Not only do
people love to talk about themselves, but it will give you time
to understand their needs and how you may be of service to
10. Dress for success
Attractive people receive attention. This doesn't mean you
have to the be the star of a beauty pageant to meet contact.
Anyone can be attractive with the right attire. Dress for a
networking meeting as you would if you were going to visit
your biggest client. A sharp, neat, and coordinated attire is
sure to focus all eyes on you!
Martin Cohn is president of The Cohn Group, Inc., a full
service public relations firm in Needham, Massachusetts.
You can read more articles at http://www.cohngroup.com