MACs Women’s Group recommends networking as the most effective way to build a profitable business, and establish strategic connections with investors, thought leaders and potential customers. Just like any other form of social networking, there’s also proper etiquette to this process.
Here are our top eleven do's and don’ts of effective business networking that will catapult your business to a whole new level:
1. Do put your best foot forward. Initiate the first contact and show plenty of enthusiasm when meeting new people. Say hello to people around you and start making a conversation.
2. Don’t go without a plan. Don’t go to a networking event without knowing what you want to achieve. Be sure to have well-defined goals prior to the event. If you want to attend a networking event to meet potential investors or business partners, then focus on the set goal before anything else.
3. Do dress the part of a successful entrepreneur. Or at least dress the part of a promising woman in business that people want to connect with.
4. Don’t just speak to one, two or three persons. This is a no-brainer, right? But it’s easy to get stuck in a conversation with someone you like. Remember you’re there to build a larger and more diverse network, so move around and talk to as many people as possible.
5. Do listen and learn. Keep in mind that networking is more about listening than talking. Most successful entrepreneurs and investors have big egos, so use that to your advantage by listening and learning more about them.
6. Don’t make the mistake of overzealous self-promotion. This tactic or lack of it never works. You’re more likely annoying people you meet than building valuable relationships.
7. Do have a honed elevator pitch. Captivate the listener from the get-go with a concise, memorable and sweet elevator pitch.
8. Don’t treat everyone you meet like a prospect. They could be, of course. But that kind of approach will discourage them from fully engaging with you.
9. Do bring your business cards. Bring enough of them with you. But give one only to people who show real interest about your business and want to get in touch with you in a near future.
10. Don’t fail to deliver on a promise. If you promise to help someone after the event (send them a link to a free tool or something), make sure that you do it. Be true to your word.
11. Do follow the 24-hour rule. When following through with your contacts after the event, follow the 24-hour rule. Don’t wait until the next couple of days or week because you won’t likely get around to it. Send a quick email to your new contacts showing appreciation for their time and letting them know you're looking forward to meeting them again.
If you haven’t registered yet for our Annual MACs Women’s Entrepreneur Summit this October 3, 2015, then you’re cordially invited to join us and see put these practical tips to work.
Also do you have your own set of do's and don’ts of successful networking? Care to share them with us?