Want to get more from your business networking? Try these tips:
Business cards: create business cards that will stand out and help others to remember who you are. Bright colors or your photo on your business card are great ways of catching someone’s eye.
Come Early: It's almost counter-intuitive, but showing up early at a networking event is a much better strategy than getting there on the later side. As a first attendee, you'll notice that it's calmer and quieter – and people won't have settled into groups yet. It's easier to find other people who don't have conversation partners yet.
Elevator speech: sum up your business services in 30 seconds. If you speak to someone while networking you need to be able to describe your business quickly or else you risk them becoming confused.
Share your passion: Win people over with your enthusiasm for your product or service. Leave a lasting impression by telling a story about why you were inspired to create your company. Talking about what you enjoy is often contagious, too. When you get other people to share their passion, it creates a memorable two-way conversation.
Appearance: as a networking professional you must look professional and well groomed. If your business does not require semi-professional wear or full professional wear now is the time to invest in some clothing to network. Also make sure your hair and nails are manicured, and you smell good (don’t over do any perfumes or colognes – major turn off).
Networking groups: choose networking groups to join that service your niche, geographic area and fit your budget. Make sure to be an active member. Just becoming a member is not enough. Being involved is how you truly build relationships.
Follow up: as you give out your business cards and collect them make sure to always send an email to those you met to say “nice to meet you” and “I hope we can catch up in the near future.” This is another form of relationship building.