Networking has become such an overused term and action that I want to share my perspective on it, share how SIM fosters a community of networking, and remind us all of some Best Practices for Networking.
Networking is the backbone to nearly everything in life. It is how we meet new people and stay connected with those we already know in all areas of our personal and professional lives. However, it is something we have to do intentionally and continually. It is important to remember that networking is a two-way process in which you provide beneficial support to those in your network as well.
SIM Events provide the community for making and maintaining those connections and to learn from those connections. For example, our recent SIM Fall Gala had 250 business and technology leaders in attendance. What a plethora of networking opportunities! If you reconnect with two people and meet just two people that will expand into a longer relationship, it's worth it. Remember they know someone who connects you to someone, and that person knows someone who connects you to someone, and so on. Your network grows!...
We all likely know the basics of connecting and networking, and sometimes it's nice to have a refresher. Here are a few quick tips that are among my favorites...
1. Plan Ahead - Who Do You Want to Meet?Who is the audience? Review the attendance list. (SIM has a nice way of displaying the attendee list as an option.) Use social media to learn something about them.
2. "Tell Me More" - Make certain that you give the person your complete attention and ask them clarifying questions. A key concept most are not aware of is that the more questions you ask, and the more others talk about themselves, the more they think YOU are interesting!
3. Body language can speak volumes about a person. Learning to master your body language and effectively reading another's body language is helpful to your social interactions.
Recognize signs of engagement such as head nods, forward leans, and eye contact. Also look for less engaged cues such as leaning back, frowning, or looking away. These may be signs that it's time to change topics or wrap-up the conversation.
4. Always Add Value - Always try to add value; contribute to the conversation or offer assistance. You can help to connect people, share knowledge/experience or offer personal help. Consistently adding value will build a positive reputation.
5. Follow up - Business networking events typically offer just a short time period for speaking with people. A one-time meeting might not make an impact, reconnecting on the conversation or remembering a personal detail will build the relationship over time. Send an email, or invite your new contact for a coffee meeting.
6. Never Eat Alone - (Book by Keith Ferrazzi ) Sharing a meal is an excellent way to get to know someone better and solidify your connections...and it's fun!
Your network is your net worth!
It's not too early to mark your calendar to plan your networking opportunities at 2019 SIM Events.