Networking events are great meeting places and as the name implies, they provide a venue to work within a group - usually of professionals. Like any other successful method of marketing, there is an art to networking that involves many areas, but we'll focus on just one for now. What is you goal when you attend networking events? Is it to quickly tell everyone who you are, what you do, hand out as many cards as possible, then leave?
If your goal is to get your card into the hands of as many people as possible without taking the time to find out who they are, what they do and how you can help them, then your purpose for attending would have failed. It's important to remember that networking is about building relationships and to achieve this it is important to be others focused. Get to know people by asking questions about them. Ask simple conversation starters like: What do you do? You can follow with questions like, How long have you been in business or working this particular business? Who is your target market? How can I help YOU?
Someone may say that if all they're to be concerned about is the other person, what's the point in attending these events? The point is that when you show that you care about others, they begin to build a measure of trust in you. People are so accustomed to being pitched to so that when you display the opposite behavior they lose some of the defense wall surrounding them and will more readily want to learn more about you and find out how they in turn can help you.
Go with a mindset to GIVE, and you'll be pleasantly surprised how much you GET.
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