Contrary to what some may believe, networking isn’t just something that you do at conferences and business events. If you want to make connections that can boost your business, you have to be constantly vigilant. You can NEVER stop networking.
This means that you must make networking a part of your everyday life, something that I have been practicing for years, and I can tell you with full confidence that it WORKS! Recently I had a chance encounter to meet a Shark Tank contestant and partner of Marc Cuban. I now have a great new connection that started from a simple “hello” in the elevator. You can hear more about it in my Facebook video below.
Of course, some people enjoy networking more than others, and it can also be tied to your personality, with networking coming more naturally to extroverts than introverts. That said, there are several EASY things that anyone can do to incorporate networking into everyday life. Here are some of my ideas:
1. Simple Greetings
“Hello,” “Good morning,” “Good afternoon.” These are all just simple pleasantries, but as I demonstrated in my video above, it can work! Simple greetings are not networking per say, but these greetings help break the ice and can lead to deeper networking.
This sounds simple, but our ‘resting faces’ are sometimes not so friendly, and we often have to remind ourselves to smile. We are all drawn to happy, positive people, and your smile will make you look more approachable.
3. Introduce Yourself
What good is a great conversation with someone new if you each walk away not knowing the other’s name? Craft a short introduction that explains who you are and what you do, and practice so you feel comfortable.
4. Ask Questions
If you feel uncomfortable being in the ‘spotlight’ of a conversation, push it back over to the other person by asking thoughtful questions. You will learn a lot and they will walk away feeling great. However, don’t just ask questions as a deflection technique; use good listening skills and make sure you are genuinely interested in their answers.
5. Focus on Your Passions
When it’s your turn to speak, focus on the topics that you are most passionate about. Your enthusiasm will shine through in your voice, eyes, and body language, drawing the other person into what you have to say.
6. Have a Business Card Handy
Everyday life is busy, so your ‘networking’ moment will likely just be a quick conversation before you each scramble off to take care of business. By sharing your card, you are making an opportunity for the two of you to reconnect in the future.
7. Follow Up on Business Cards
On the flip side, if someone gives you a business card, make sure you follow up on it in a timely fashion. This could be as simple as a quick email saying that you enjoyed the conversation and are looking forward to connecting again sometime. The longer you wait, the greater the chance that the connection will fizzle out.
Try these tips to incorporate networking into your everyday life…and let us know about your triumphs by posting over in the Smart Hustle Community!