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Before you go, decide what category of business you wish to connect with at the event. Select only 2-3 categories to look out for. When you get there ask your host or hostess to introduce you to a business person in those categories. Also ask any business friends to do the same. A targeted approach is the best way to get a positive result at any networking event.
I only give my business cards out to the people in the business categories that I have targeted. Have you ever been to an event, and people rush up to you and pester you with their business cards and then once they have them, they send you a spam email the next day. VERY UNCOOL!!
Great question. I strongly recommend that you belong to one weekly networking group. This will give you access to quality business people and regular referrals and connections. I then recommend that you attend 2 monthly networking groups as well. This could be a Chamber of Commerce, a Meetup group or a monthly networking event. Go and do a Google search for these groups closest to you.
Ask around amongst your business friends that you know. You will find that there will be one or two of your friends that attend a weekly networking group or a monthly networking event. Ask them to invite you along as their guest. They will be pleased to do so.
It just takes practice. When I first started in a networking group, my knees were shaking and standing up in front of other people to share a 1 minute business talk was daunting. But I wrote down my talk and I practiced it again and again in front of the mirror. The more times you do it, the better you will get. You will soon find that you really look forward to sharing about what your business does.
Yes I believe that we do. Now I can hear you all say, hey that is not true. But with over 8 years of professional networking experience, I do see that there is a fair bit of difference. Let me explain.
Women: They like to build relationships of trust and understand that it takes time to build this. They are also less in a hurry to ‘make a sale’.
Men: Most men what to get a business card and then tell everyone what they do and then are looking to do business without having taken the time to build and establish trust.
Tip: Next time you are at a networking event, stop and watch and see the differences.