Networking takes time, energy and commitment but it’s essential in growing a business. Networking can start online, but face-to-face events provide the opportunity to shake the hands of your online friends. Whether you are networking digitally or in person, there are a few things to keep in mind to take full advantage of your efforts.
Know Your Comfort Level
Are you outgoing and willing to attend events where you don’t know anyone? If you are hesitant to attend a networking event alone, then take a friend! It’s a waste to attend an event leaving without engaging with others. Together you can meet and greet new friends. Don’t forget the business cards! Cards that include a photo of yourself and social links will allow the receiver to remember you and connect after the event. Don’t forget to follow up after the invite. Send a LinkedIn request or a quick note thanking them for their time.
When you travel do you search for events or create them? Personally, I love traveling but I don’t care to be alone in the evening in a strange city. Prior to my trip I conduct a LinkedIn search for those I know in the city I’m visiting. Usually the hotel I’m staying in has a nice lobby and/or bar and I send an evite out to my connections to meet me for a drink and/or coffee.
What Should You Attend?
As you know, you can “Google” anything. A simple search “network events in …” will provide a list of events in your city. Search Event http://www.eventbrite.com/home or conduct a Facebook search for your local Social Media Club. Houston not only has a Social Media Club but also a Houston Social Media Breakfast group that meets the 2nd Friday of each month. There are great panel discussions and as many as 100 people may attend. If you are fortunate to live in the Nashville, TN area you should meet Dave Delaney who hosts a Nashcocktail/Nashville Cocktail Hour where each month social media enthusiasts meet for a cocktail or two. https://www.facebook.com/nashcocktail
Build Stronger Relationships
I love the relationships I have built-in the franchise industry. It is a very open community that engages in conversations on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. We look forward to the annual convention and the opportunity to attend sessions, dinner, TweetUps and the annual kick off with Franchising Gives Back where volunteers gather for a day of community service.
Recently a franchise friend, Phyllis Pieri reached out and requested to visit Houston and attend our local Franchise Business Network meeting. Below is a quick interview I conducted asking Phyllis about the visit.
Are you building relationships via networking? Tell me about the events you attend. I just may attend the next time I’m visiting your city!