|Editors note: My friend, Linda Puig, just returned home from an inspiring three days — and some GREAT networking — at Bill Baren’s “The Big Shift Experience” conference in San Francisco. With her permission, I just couldn’t wait to share her “hot off the griddle” networking tips with you!
#1 BEST NETWORKING TIP
While big events like this are a wonderful opportunity to meet and network with others, I often feel shy at the beginning, or closed or worried about what people think of me (and I know I’m not the only one!).
When that happens, I have a technique that works EVERY time to get me into “rock star” networker mode!
I call it “becoming a reporter.”
I LOVE this technique, because I learn SO MUCH and always meet fascinating people doing interesting things.
And I don’t have to go ANYWHERE NEAR the kind of activities that often pass for “networking” but are really just disguised and desperate-feeling attempts to drum up business.
Now, I have a background as a newspaper reporter, but that’s definitely not a requirement for this technique.
All that IS required is that you shift from “shy or worried” to CURIOUS!
Just flip a switch in your brain and turn on your curiosity. Really. Just flip a switch and “become a reporter.” It gets you immediately out of your “stuff” and into a place of genuine connection with others.
Ask questions. Not an artillery barrage or an interrogation, but a simple “I’m interested in you” inquiry.
Where does she live? How long has she lived there and/or why did she move there? What does he do professionally? How’d he get into that? What’s an interesting project on the horizon that she’s excited about? How did that come about? When is it going public? Does he have children, and if so, what are their ages?
The subjects are endless. Mix personal with business questions. And watch people’s faces light up as they talk about what is near and dear to them.
You’ll make a wonderful new connection, both human and business, and you’ll be remembered for the great conversation.
BE THE CHOOSER
Don’t wait for people to come to you. Take the first step, even if doing so is out of your comfort zone.
For example, identify in advance a person or people you’d like to meet or get to know better. Make plans BEFORE lunch starts to eat together. Take the initiative.
Or, do like I did this past weekend: I didn’t make plans in advance. As we broke for lunch or dinner, I simply asked my
inner guidance to lead me to who I should share my meal with.
It didn’t ONCE fail me! I deepened relationships with some I already knew and met for the first time some GREAT new
connections. Synchronicities abounded!
HAND OUT SOMETHING MEMORABLE
When asked for a business card, I handed people a 5×8 postcard that contained on the front a free offer for my “75 Best Newsletter Success Strategies” report and a great testimonial.
Yes, a couple of the URLs on the back were outdated, but the postcard did its job: it stood out.
That’s why I always advocate — in ANY networking situation — an oversized postcard or printed newsletter or Ready2Go Article Brochure.
The brochure is particularly effective because it’s surprising!
People are used to a traditional tri-fold brochure, with bullet lists of your specialty areas and the schools you attended, etc.
(Boring stuff to the recipient/reader of this stale format.)
But the tri-fold Ready2Go Article Brochure has an inviting graphic image on the front and a FULL ARTICLE on the inside…
an engaging, educational article geared to the reader!
Yes, we include your photo and other branding, but the main thrust of these brochures is the article. That’s why our clients like them so much.
In fact, they’ve told us that the people who receive these unique Ready2Go Article Brochures ASK FOR MORE to give to co-workers!
Don’t forget that our 2-for-the-price-of-1 Ready2Go Article Brochure sale ends TODAY. Use the code AB241 when you check out.
IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING…AND DOING!
Follow-up. It’s the critical piece of networking, yes?
Yes. But unfortunately, it’s also the part that most often goes undone.
I’m as guilty as the next person of not always following up on all the contacts I make at events. But I have a new vow:
Within 3 days of an event, I follow up in one form or another with everyone whose card I took or contact info I otherwise gathered.
I’ll either email them directly or put them on my email list (if I got their permission) so that I can begin sending my
At the very least, I’ll invite them to connect on Facebook, Twitter and/or LinkedIn, in the hopes that they will eventually make it over onto my email list so that I can keep in touch more regularly and with more value.
Especially today, we have so many ways to stay connected with people that it’s a shame not to!
P.S. I was kicking myself for not bringing a Ready2Go Article Brochure of my own to this weekend’s event, as they truly are unique and stand out from the plethora of business cards. Oh well, next time…but it’s not too late for YOUR next event, whether a speaking gig, conference or networking meeting.
Linda Claire Puig is a newsletter marketing expert and founder of Ready2GoArticles.com, Ready2GoArticleBrochures.com and Ready2GoEzines.com, which provide coaches and personal development professionals who don’t have time to write – or don’t like to – with high-quality done-for-you article, brochures and newsletters that help them more easily connect with their audience and grow their businesses. She also teaches unique, action-oriented programs on how to create newsletters and use them to make more money. An award-winning writer since 1983, Linda’s articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines and newsletters throughout the world. She has produced newsletters for small businesses and professionals since 1990 and has trained thousands of individuals in “the way of the newsletter.” For a free copy of her special report, “75 Best Newsletter Success Strategies,” click here.