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Top 10 tips for networking success

Create win-win connections and relationships that lead to success! Networking works. A wise mentor once told me, “Where two are more are gathered, there is a networking opportunity.”

When I started my business in Miami 10 years ago, I made networking the centerpiece of my marketing strategy. New to the city, I needed a way to connect with people for business and also to meet new friends. I attended many different types of events, from chamber meetings and professional organizations to charitable causes and social events.

Networking is a universal principle that is at work all around the world. These tips will help you relax and have more fun as you step into networking with confidence and ease:

Have a plan for networking — Decide on an objective for networking. Think about how networking will fit into your personal and professional goals. Target networking events and activities that will help you meet your objective.

Be prepared — Develop a 30-second introduction that clearly states what you do. Practice this introduction so you can say it easily and with confidence.

Show interest in others — If you are genuinely curious about other people, it is easier to start conversations. People usually love talking about themselves. Make the goal in your conversations to connect rather than impress.

Be patient while learning how to network — Many people feel awkward when they begin networking. Be patient with yourself as you learn how to become an effective networker.

Become a resource to others — Make it a point to put people in your networks in touch with each other. Also, look for ways you may provide a solution to a problem they have. • Have plenty of business cards — Have them for every networking opportunity. Get in the habit of replenishing your business cards regularly so that you are always prepared. Keep your cards in a place where they are easy to access.

Reintroduce yourself to people — Rather than waiting for them to remember you, reintroduce yourself. When you are in a situation with people you have previously met, reach out to them and reintroduce yourself. They will appreciate you being proactive.

Expand your network — Continue to add new contacts, resources and people to your database as a way to be a resource for others and to increase the opportunities for sharing referrals.

Follow up promptly on leads — The real value of the networking event is found as much in the follow-up as in the participation. Be sure to keep any promises made to individuals at an event. Prompt follow up will enhance your reputation as a reliable person.

Become a lifelong networker — Strong networks that are built upon a solid foundation of trust reach far beyond just business. Being a connector of others sets up a win-win situation that will serve you for a lifetime.

Pat Morgan, MBA and professional coach, works with busy professionals to help them become more profitable and productive by capitalizing on their strengths and taking focused action to create powerful change. Call her at 305-458-2849, email PatMorgan@SmoothSailingSuccess.com or visit her website at www.SmoothSailingSuccess.com

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