I hated networking events organized by my partners and company wherein we were expected to connect, prospect and sell.  I hated such events because I did not realize the true objective until much later.  So here I share my experiential learning on how to network.

  1. ATTITUDE: The first important thing is the attitude.  What attitude you go to networking event ?  Is it WIIFM or how can I help you?   Networking is about HOW CAN I HELP YOU in growing your business?  Zig Ziggler the Sales Guru once remarked  “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”
  2. BE INTERESTED:  “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie.  Be genuinely interested in others when networking; it shows.
  3. NETWORKING IS NOT MEETING:  Networking is not meeting people.  But it’s about meeting people and identifying a common thread or mutually beneficial platform to probe later.
  4. NETWORKING IS NOT EXCHANGING CARDS:  Networking is not exchanging business cards but Exchanging business cards and finding about your connections.  Ask them open ended questions.
    1. What do you do? Tell me about the work you do in your company.
    2. How did you get into this business?
    3. What do you enjoy about your profession ?
    4. Who are your competitors in the market?
  5. HANG MAN:  Hanging out with familiar group is strictly No No.  Step out of your comfort zone and meet others.
  6. CHOOSING A FOOD TABLE: Chose the table occupied with strangers.  Ask their permission to join AND introduce yourself to network.
  7. PARTICIPATE:  Many a time event speaker requests audience to get up and introduce to each other.  Or event speaker might ask the audience to meet as many people in next 5 minutes.  Participate and treat this opportunity as a genuine reason to speed date; exchange business cards and identifying a clear mutually beneficial platform/Topic to discuss.
  8. FOLLOW UP: Connect via email, social media or phone call within next 48 hours and take your discussion farther.

Finally in conclusion remember “All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, Like and Trust.”  Hence connect.