Networking is crucial for building business relationships and creating a strong community of like-minded professionals. However, simply attending events and collecting business cards isn’t enough. To truly see a return on your networking investment, it’s essential to find the right networking community, nurture relationships, and actively engage with your network.
Here are 10 tips to help you make the most of your business networking efforts.
1. Find the Right Networking Events
When it comes to finding the right networking events, it’s essential to look for opportunities that go beyond just exchanging business cards. Events like our ActionCOACH Tampa Bay Entrepreneur Day, which blend the power of networking with business education and business masterminding, offer a unique advantage for fueling business growth. These events provide an enriched environment where business owners and entrepreneurs can not only expand their network but also gain valuable insights, strategies, and knowledge to accelerate their business growth faster than traditional networking events. By attending such events, you can tap into a wealth of expertise and resources that can truly make a difference in your business journey.
2. Plan Ahead
Connect with clients, vendors, friends, or colleagues who plan to attend the same event as you. Reach out a few weeks in advance to build excitement and arrange a time to catch up during the event.
3. Remember Names with a Mental Hack
Try the trick of picturing two celebrities with the same first name in a superhero-style battle.
For example, if someone comes up to you and says “Hey, I’m Jamie! Nice to meet you.” You can imagine Jamie Lee Curtis and Jamie Foxx stepping into the ring!
This fun mental exercise can help you remember the person’s name more easily and create a memorable interaction.
4. Keep Business Cards Handy and Take Notes
After receiving a business card, hold onto it and jot down notes on the back about the conversation. Later, prioritize the contacts for follow-ups.
Also, consider using a note-taking app, like Evernote, for added convenience. If Evernote is a little too fancy, you can use any note taking app for free, snap a photo of the card, and add your notes underneath!
5. Leverage LinkedIn
Ask your new connections if you can connect with them on LinkedIn during your face-to-face conversations. This reinforces their memory of you and makes future communication easier.
6. Participate in Networking Opportunities
Most conferences and events feature networking sessions or after-parties. For example, every month at our Entrepreneur Day we host a continental breakfast, networking lunch, and post-event happy hour to facilitate even more networking opportunities. Be sure to make the most of these opportunities to broaden your network and deepen connections.
7. Explore the Local Scene
Research the event’s location and identify nearby bars or restaurants that attendees might be interested in visiting. Invite your new connections to join you for a more relaxed and informal networking experience.
8. Take Notes
Take detailed notes during presentations. If you’re a paper note taker, when you have downtime, collect all of your materials and type them up!
At ActionCOACH Tampa Bay, we simplify this process by providing members with a comprehensive workbook designed to facilitate next month’s planning methodologies. This valuable resource establishes a system of accountability, ensuring the successful implementation of strategies and goals for continued growth and success.
Tip: If you type up most of your notes, use a URL shortener like Bit.ly or Goo.gl to create an easy to remember link that you can share with your fellow event goers! Try to keep it simple, so you can help people navigate to your notes by memory on their own phones. Now you have something of value to share with your fellow attendees!
9. Prepare Conversation Starters
Networking can be intimidating, especially for introverts. Master the art of business networking with a list of conversation-starting questions that can help ease the pressure and create meaningful interactions.
Some questions you can think about asking are:
- Which session are you most excited to attend? Has anything stuck out to you?
- Are you already familiar with any of these speakers?
- How did you hear about this event? Did you come with anyone?
- Have you read any good books lately?
- What is on your reading list?
- Are you working on a project right now that you’re excited about?
- What did you think about [specific session]?
- What’s your story? Tell me about you!
When in doubt, try to get the other person to introduce themselves – and try to find out more about them.
Prepare a short response for yourself to some of your ice breaker questions too, that will help you keep the conversation rolling.
10. Follow Up Consistently and Effectively
Draft a personalized follow-up letter or email using the notes you took during the conversation. Schedule a time to call them and interact on social media to strengthen the connection.
By employing these expert strategies, you can maximize your networking ROI and become a networking pro. Remember, the power of networking lies not only in who you know but also in who they know. Make networking an integral part of your business journey to see sustained growth and success.
Entrepreneur Day – Where Tampa’s business community comes together to thrive.
Join us at ActionCOACH Tampa Bay’s monthly Entrepreneur Day, where you’ll have the opportunity to connect with like-minded business professionals and gain valuable insights into the essential steps for business growth.
“I look forward to the 3rd Friday because it is one full day of uninterrupted time working on my business.” – Shawn Yesner
Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur ready to take the leap, an established business owner seeking new strategies, or a member of Tampa’s vibrant professional community, this event is tailor-made to fuel your growth and success. Don’t miss out on this valuable opportunity to network, learn, and elevate your business to new heights. Secure your spot at Entrepreneur Day and unlock the doors to your business’s full potential today.