Many people hate networking. You don't have to. Read these tips below:
1. Make a list of 5 potential groups to join; could be business groups or non-profits you want to join.
2. Research the groups on line to see what they do, who is involved, past events, etc.
a. Don’t forget that networking doesn’t just happen at business groups, it can be very effective to join boards of non-profits, see who sits on the boards already
3. Register for next meeting
a. If there is someone you know in the group, call and ask if they are attending
b. Invite someone to go with you, from the office or another referral source
i. Be sure to spread out once you are there though especially when sitting at a table
4. Day of the meeting
a. Show up 15 minutes early, introduce yourself to the team checking everyone in
b. Wear your name tag - have one made for your companyc. Introduce yourself to people but listen first
i. Ask what they do
ii. Think of how you can help or connect them to someone else you know
iii. Get their card
1. Write on the back of the card where and when you met
d. Ask the team coordinating for specific people in attendance, e.g. for them to point out someone you want to meet and introduce you
e. Let people know what you might be looking for, i.e., how they can help you
f. Make a plan to walk away with at least one business card that has value, i.e., referral source; even if it means waiting until the end of the meeting to talk with someone
5. After the meeting
a. Enter information from each card into a spreadsheet or sales software tool including how you met them and when and who they might be connected to
i. Follow up within 2-3 days with an email to say it was nice to meet them and provide any information you promised
6. The group itself
a. How else can you get involved?
b. Who is on committees or the board that you want to meet?
7. Remember that practice improves everything
a. Go to more meetings
b. Bring people with you
c. Reach out to people who seem new or lost; introduce them to others
d. Be a connector!