Networking can be a daunting activity. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start or even what to do. To make the process less complex and more organized, we’ve provided some best practices about networking and how to get started to make the most out of the experience:
First, you’ll need to scout out the best candidates. Then, you must demonstrate a genuine commitment to helping them achieve their own goals and objectives. As always, this takes discipline, focus and planning.
Here is a list of some of the best networking settings to find potential members of your Outside ROPE team:
After you know where to go, how do you proceed?
- Remember, more is not always better. Focus your efforts by creating a “Top Ten” list of candidates who can introduce you to prospects or provide you with some other competitive advantage. They may be industry pundits or leading thinkers such as scientists or educators. They may run prominent businesses or head up important trade organizations. Carefully consider how you can benefit them too. Then check the chart above to see where you’re most likely to encounter each of them.
- Be Prepared. You never know when a networking opportunity will arise, so make sure you always have pertinent information on hand about yourself and your company.
- Don’t Lecture, Listen! People at networking events want to talk about themselves, and you need to let them!
- Be Engaged. Never lead with your “Elevator Pitch.” People don’t want to be “sold.” They want to meet interesting people with balanced lives. Share your personal side. Smile and be enthusiastic. Strive to make a connection, be authentic, and remember to ask more questions than you answer.
- Give to Get. Good relationships benefit both parties, so be sure to ask everyone you meet to share his or her goals and objectives.
- Follow-up. This is the key to networking success. Send personal notes to your best candidates thanking them for their time. Share a bit of pertinent news about an upcoming industry event or let them know you’ve made an introduction on their behalf. Most importantly, follow up on your commitments to do something for them!
- Never Stop Networking. As you can see, building your Outside ROPE team is an ongoing process that requires careful planning and dedication. Your network will be critical to your long-term success, so develop it with diligence and care!
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