13 Business Networking Tips from Experts

business networking tipsNetworking is important to business owners. It’s not always easy though. That’s why it’s crucial you learn as much as possible to make your networking approach effective. The following are some of the best tips from experts in business networking.

Be Short, Sweet, and Inquisitive

When you meet someone, have an elevator speech ready in which you tell that person what you’d like to do and what you can do. Before you leave that person, Katharine Hansen who is the author of “A Foot in the door: Networking Your Way Into the Hidden Market” says to ask two questions:

  1. What advice do you have for me?
  2. Who should I talk to?

Identify Your Target

Jeff Hoffman, author of Network the Hell Out of People: 6 Expert Tips, advises that people make a list of people they want to meet. Research these people, so you know who they are before meeting them. When you know who they are and what they can do, you’ll know how they can help you with your business.

Find Out What You Can Do

Before asking people to help you, find out what you can do for them. When people see that you’re so willing to help them, they will want to return the favor. David DiCosola, COO at Georama.com says that you can do something as simple as recommending an article that can help someone do something. A simple gesture goes a long way.

Don’t Discriminate with Networking

According to HCareers, it’s important to cast your networking net as far as possible. While you might want to start connecting with the most prominent people as possible in your industry, don’t forget to connect with others who aren’t as visible. They can help you just as much. Many of these people have more time, so they can help you more than others.

Watch This Video for Nine More Business Networking Tips

Watch this video for more networking tips. Small business expert Denise O’Berry provides you nine more tips you’ll be able to use at your next networking event.

You have what you need now to make the most of your next networking event. Don’t become overwhelmed trying to implement all these tips at once. Choose the ones you like the best, try them out, and then try some others next time. Changing your networking approach is a process, so start now, and find what works for you.

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How Women Can Network with a Purpose

network with a purposeMen and women differ in many areas of life, and networking is no different. In a great book, Forget the Glass Ceiling: Build Your Business Without One, Madeleine Albright says:

“Women don’t network – they make friends. Men network up and down. Women tend to network more peer to peer.”

Women make friends and men find people that can help them. While it seems some women have trouble asking people for help after first meeting them, men, in general, appear to have no problem asking people to do something shortly after meeting them, according to Kelly Hoey who is the cofounder of Women Innovate Mobile Accelerator. This is what separates men from women when it comes to growing their businesses.

Changing Your Networking Approach

Women must open themselves up more to capture more resources. Resources are people who can take their strengths and use them to help grow businesses. Everyone has strengths, and being able to swap those strengths is what networking is all about. When women are able to understand that concept, they may be more comfortable reaching out to people to find out what they are good at and how they can help. It doesn’t go only one way though. Women must also identify what they are good at, so they can help others.

It’s okay to be friendly. It’s okay to find commonalities with people to feel comfortable with them. Although some relationships take time to build, it’s important to be mindful of how to drive relationships that produce results for both parties. Networking is about building relationships quickly, and then using that relationship to grow a business over time. It’s like building a house. You must bring in many contractors to construct a house such as a carpenter, roofer, and landscaper, etc. When you bring all these people together, you have a house. For your business, when you are able to bring in people with different strengths, you build a business. The difference is you don’t necessarily have to pay them with money, but with your time when you offer your strengths to help them.

This is the idea behind networking. When women know this, it might make it much easier to network in this way. Instead of spending too much time finding connections that they feel comfortable making, they will be able expand beyond their comfort zone to meet more people and to identify the strengths they need to grow their business. It takes time to network this way, but once women do, they start to see that networking really does work.

Start attending networking events to network with a purpose. You can grow your business, and you can do it with the help of the people around you. 

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Introvert’s Networking Survival Guide

ID-100246860Being an introvert can make networking difficult. Walking into a room of strangers, and having to be social just seems like a lot of work for people who are introverted. This doesn’t mean that introverts can’t or shouldn’t network. It just means that introverts have to take some extra steps to ensure they take care of themselves before, during, and after a networking event.

Before the Networking Event – Isolate and Rest Up

Introverts become exhausted in every way when they are social. They tire emotionally, physically, and mentally. Introverts can keep from becoming so tired by making sure they isolate and rest before a networking event. This way when they are confronted with introducing themselves, they will feel much stronger and capable of making a first impression.

During the Networking Event – Run, Hide, and Return

Networking events can be as short as a couple of hours to as long as five hours or more. This is a long time for introverts to be social. This is why it’s important for them to get away for a little while to recharge their batteries. Using the restroom for this reason is a good idea. You won’t seem rude and you can hang out there until you feel strong enough to return to the party.

After the Networking Event – Isolate, Rest, and Review

Just as you isolated and rested before the event, you need to do the same afterwards. This will help you recover from your social hangover. Once you have time to yourself, you will be able to review how the networking event went for you. Was it successful? What did you learn? What can you do differently next time?

Try this strategy the next time you have a networking event you want to attend. It’s likely you’ll feel much better afterwards, and actually feel as though you have conquered the challenges of being an introvert.
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Improve Your Networking Skills with this Assessment

ID-100235210Everyone can improve their networking skills. They are skills that need to be worked on continuously because there are so many personalities to deal with at a networking event. After your next event, you may want to start analyzing your networking approach. By analyzing, you will be able to identify what you’re doing right, and what you can improve upon.

Keep a Journal

As much as you may not want to do this, give it a try. It’s really powerful to see how well you’re doing and what you need to work on at your next networking event.

You don’t need anything fancy. A piece of paper and pen will do, or you can start a new document on your computer. Whatever you’re most comfortable with will work out best.

When you have your journal, put the networking event information at the top. Write down the name of the event, the type of networking event you went to, and the date. You can then start answering the following questions.

What was learned from the event? You should always learn something when you meet people. If you don’t learn anything, you are not allowing people to teach you. You are not listening or asking enough questions. Your goal when meeting people is to learn something you didn’t know before, so be sure to not end a conversation before this happens.

What are the implications of what you learned? The information you gathered should help you with your work or job. This might take some mental work, but it’s important to be able to see how what you are learning is helping you.

What can you do with what you learned? You know the implications, so now it’s time to come up with the action. Having new knowledge means you can do something different, so make a plan and implement it. This is how you can grow your business or get closer to your goal.

What did you do during the networking event that worked well? You always need to pride yourself in what you did right. Identify those things in your journal, so you can feel better about yourself, and continue to do the same things next time.

What didn’t go so well? There’s always going to be something you should have done or said. Write them down now, so you can study it. That way the next time you’ll act differently, which will help you feel better about handling specific situations.

What is one thing you want to do next time that you didn’t do this time? Stretch yourself by doing some research on how to network better. You can read more articles on HuddleDo, read networking books, or talk to others who seem to be more successful at networking. With these tips, you can do something different to see if it works for you.

It’s Time to Improve Your Networking Skills

There’s no better time than now to improve your networking skills. Start the journal, work on it after every event, and continue to learn what works and what doesn’t. Soon, you’ll be amazed at how different your networking approach is and how much more successful you’ll be at events.

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8 Networking Tips to Make Networking Events a Raging Success

ID-100127093If you’re just not understanding the point of networking events, you may not be approaching it the right way. These 8 networking tips will help you get more out of each event.

Choose the Right Network

Although networking with professionals from all walks is advisable, consider focusing your efforts on industries that are naturally aligned with your business.  For example, if you’re an attorney, develop a network with people in the medical field because they’ll likely be more interested in what you’re doing (Think, “Personal Injury Attorney and a Chiropractor”) or more importantly who you might be able to refer (and vice versa). Identify networks that include people in an industry you are interested in, so you can meet people who will be interested in you and you in them.

Fake Confidence Until It Becomes Natural

Before walking up to people, visualize walking up to them and introducing yourself. Allow your inner voice tell you, “Just walk up, smile, hold out your hand, and say, “Hi, my name is Mary.” Once you do that, all you have to do is make a move. Act as if you have confidence, and before you know it, you won’t have to visualize anymore. You will be on automatic pilot.

Use Names Often

People will be impressed you know their names, especially following a networking event. The best way to remember is to use their name as much as possible during the conversation. Don’t overdo it to the point where the person you’re speaking to will notice, but just enough that the person will like you’re making a point to remember. In a 10 minute conversation, you should say the person’s name three times.

Actively Listen

Active listening is important. You do this by paying attention to what people say to you, and then follow up with questions to gather more information. You can also repeat a little of what the person says to show you are absorbing it. For example, “You mentioned that your company has been in business since 1993, what do you believe is the key to its success?”

Be Aware of Body Language

People notice your body language, so make it work for you. Never fold your arms in front of you, stand too close to people, or look away as someone is talking to you. Stand at arm’s length from the person you’re speaking to, make eye contact, stand straight up, and nod your head in agreement when it makes sense.

Ask Open Ended Questions

Open ended questions are those that people answer with an explanation. In other words, they don’t answer with a simple yes or no. Examples of open-ended questions are:

  • What are some projects you’re working on right now?
  • What are your predictions concerning the latest policy change?
  • How will you make this year better than the last?

Help by Connecting People

When you think of networking, you probably imagine connections. Be the connector in a networking situation by introducing people to others who may help them. If you meet someone building a commercial building and then another person wanting to purchase a commercial building, you may want to introduce them. If you meet two people working on a similar project, you may want to bring them together.

Prepare an “Elevator Speech”

People don’t want you to ramble on about what you do or want to do. Prepare a speech of less than two minutes (then try to distill it down to 60 seconds) that highlights you, your business, and projects. If people want to learn more, they will ask questions.

Try these networking tips at your next event. You’ll likely see that they make a difference, and you’ll start to see positive results from your networking efforts.

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Signs You’re Coming On Too Strong When Networking

ID-10076886It can be difficult to look at ourselves in the self-awareness mirror. We don’t ever want to see a negative reflection. However, taking a real look at how we appear in front of others is necessary, especially when in networking situations.

Coming on too strong at networking events is one of the reasons some people have a difficult time seeing the worth in them. These people are not shy. They are outgoing and have no problem speaking to strangers about any topic. The problem arises when this type of person doesn’t realize he is being obnoxious. To know if you may be doing this, look out for these red flags at your next networking event.

Starting the Conversation with Opportunity Talk

People don’t want to feel as though they are being pushed into the corner with questions about opportunities their company may have available. These people may push back by sliding out of the conversation with an excuse of needing to use the restroom or refill a drink.

If you’re starting the conversation inquiring about a job or other opportunities, you may be coming on too strong. Start with general talk, and as you learn more about the person, you may get to the point where he will tell you. If not, there’s always time to reconnect after the event to find out if his company has a position for you.

Talking About Yourself the Whole Time

When you talk about yourself all the time, people naturally get bored and don’t want to be around you. Just like you want to be heard, other people want the same benefit. It’s important to learn to take turns when in a conversation. You say a little about yourself, and then let the person you’re speaking to say a little about himself. Before you know it, you’ll be exchanging business cards, and making plans to connect for coffee at a later time.

Asking for Business Cards Too Soon

Business cards are great to get in touch with people after a networking event. Asking for them shouldn’t be something you should rush into though. You need to start and build a relationship with someone before you fish for a business card. You need to have a basis for asking for one. For example, “We should talk more about your upcoming project because I may be able to help you with it. Here’s my business card. Can I have yours?” As you can see, you’ve offered something in exchange for the card. You won’t have anything to offer if you ask too soon, so wait, learn and then exchange.

Having Too Much to Drink

Most networking events have a bar available. This doesn’t mean you should throw your professionalism out the window and drink like you did when you were in college. Drinking too much will get you into trouble when networking. Your speech may slur, even though you don’t hear it. You may not be able to stand straight up, and you may speak too loudly. People will not be impressed with your behavior. Be responsible when drinking alcoholic beverages at networking events, and if you can’t control yourself, it’s better to stay away from them.

The next time you go to a networking event, pay attention to the way you’re acting. You may realize you have been coming on too strong. If so, don’t worry about it because now you know, so you can change. You’ll be one step closer to seeing success at networking events.

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Step Away from the Computer and Network Offline Too

ID-10078176People have become comfortable with online networking. They’ve set up their LinkedIn profiles, started a Twitter account, and designed their Facebook Page. They reach out to people, connect, and sometimes those connections lead to awesome opportunities. Sometimes, those connections lead to nowhere. This is when online networking fails and how offline networking can save the day.

Many people are just naturally better conversing in person. They enjoy being able to shake a hand, look into people’s eyes, and see a smile. They are able to feel a spiritual connection with people, and that’s what causes them to move forward with them. This can’t be done online. You cannot meet the people who prefer offline networking as easily if you just network online. This means you end up missing a whole group that could lead you to great opportunities.

Does this mean you shouldn’t network online? No, not at all. You should continue your efforts online, but make sure you have enough time to interact with people in your community as well. When you combine the two, you end up broadening your scope, which increases your chances of finding people who will be able to help you grow your business.

How to Connect Online and Offline Networking

Actually, you can bring online and offline networking together. Many people find it effective to research people in their industry. Once they have reached out to those that interest them, they work on trying to meet them in person. They may invite people to lunch or a networking event they know of close to their location. Since they have already done the introductions, it’s much easier to pick up where they left off discussing their businesses.

Offline networking can also be connected with online networking. Once you meet people at a networking event, it’s a great idea to find them on LinkedIn and Twitter. You can connect with them and then send a message to refresh their memory. This connection is meaningful right from the start because it was already started offline. From there, you’ll be able to stay up to date on what they are doing, and connect with them when you both find it convenient.

HuddleDo Strives to Make the Online – Offline Connection

HuddleDo wants to make networking easier for you, whether that is online, offline, or both. We provide a platform for you to make great connections online and offline. Use the website to connect with people who share your desire to build real relationships, go to events sponsored by us, and then come back to our site to deepen your interpersonal relationships. It’s not only about sending connects and online messages, it’s about bringing the online world offline and back online again. It’s bridging the gap, so you can increase your chances of finding the opportunities that will take your business to new heights.

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What Not to Do When Networking to Find a Job

ID-100206716The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that 70 percent of people find a job through networking. Just like the old saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” With that being said, it’s time to step up your game when it comes to networking to find a job. Many people are doing it all wrong, which ends up ruining their chances of a job opportunity. The following are some of the mistakes people make, and how you can avoid them.

Give Me a Job NOW

Maybe people don’t actually say this, but they act like it. They ask 20 questions about a person’s company and its current employment opportunities.

Don’t come off too strong because you’ll drive people away. You don’t want them to run away from you, you want them to run after you. You can do this by showing them that you are valuable. When they see how much you know and can do for them, they will want to tell you about the positions they have available.

Me, Me, and Me

Some people only talk about themselves. All of a sudden, they realize people are avoiding them or cutting conversations short. That’s a problem.

You do need to tell people about yourself, but don’t go overboard. It’s perfectly okay to give people some information about yourself and then asking them about what they do. This way you learn something and they learn something. That’s the perfect exchange to make a perfect connection.

 I’ll Talk to Everyone

This type of networker talks to people in the tech, health, business, and art industry. They’re interested in working in real estate though. They walk out with plenty of connections, but they don’t ever lead anywhere because they don’t lead to a job in real estate.

You need to focus when you’re at a networking event. It’s fun to meet people, but you have a goal and you won’t achieve it if you’re not making the right connections. Identify the people in real estate that you need to speak to, and then if there is time afterwards, mingle with people in other industries.

People Will Remember Me

This person calls people they connected with at the networking event, but they don’t ever call back.  When they do connect with them, they have no idea who they are and rush them off the phone.

It’s normal for people not to remember you, so don’t be put off by it. You can remind them who you are by bringing up something unique about yourself. If they still don’t remember you, use that opportunity to reintroduce yourself and start a new connection.

Now that you know the mistakes people make when networking to find a job, you’ll know what not to do. You can go to your next networking event with a new approach, and finally find your dream job.

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Use These Words to Win at Networking

ID-100144471The Business Insider recently published an article identifying the six most powerful words when networking. These words are:

  • Who
  • What
  • Why
  • Where
  • When
  • How

These words are your keys to get into the realm of relationship building with people. One thing that HuddleDo emphasizes is the importance of building valuable connections with people at networking events. You cannot do this if you simply talk about yourself all the time. While people will know what you do, you won’t have any idea what they do. You can’t help people if you don’t know what they’re doing, and when you can’t help, they won’t want to help you.

The best way to get to know people is by asking questions. These questions invite people to talk about themselves, and as you know, we all like to talk about ourselves.

At this point, you may think, “Well, if everyone else is talking about themselves, what about me? When do I get to tell people about what I am doing?” Don’t rush it, but after you ask what others are doing, they will turn to you for the same information. They will want to know why you are so interested in them and that’s when it’s your turn to explain yourself.

What if people don’t turn around with the same who, what, where, why, when and how questions? Take it as a sign they aren’t master networkers like yourself. However, that doesn’t mean you should walk away from them. Simply wait until the end of the conversation. Briefly explain what you do and how it relates to the other person’s business and then hand over a business card. If the person wants to know more, he or she will ask questions. If not, that’s your cue to move on to the next person.

You will find that you’ll connect more with some people than others, and that’s usually because they understand how to work the networking scene. They understand the value of asking questions. You’ll know how great networking works when you encounter someone who wants to learn as much about you as you want to learn about him or her. When you exchange business cards, you’ll be excited about it, and will smile at the thought you’ve just made a connection that will go beyond the networking event.

Give these powerful words a try at your next networking event. You may just be amazed at how awesome they really are in creating valuable connections.

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Are You One of These Networking Types?

networking typesEveryone approaches networking in a certain way. People usually don’t even realize they are a “type” of networker. They do what they believe is the right way to do it, and move on with it. Understanding the type of networker you are will help you perfect your approach to get the most out of the networking experience.

Business Card Hunter

You head out to a networking event armed with your business cards and you’re expecting some in return. Within five minutes into a conversation with someone new, you ask for a business card. It’s not too long afterwards that you move on to the next person to do it all over again.

Pros: You end up having many business cards, which you can use to connect with a lot of people that may lead you to some great opportunities.

Cons: People won’t take you seriously when you contact them after the event because they don’t remember who you are since you simply just took a business card and ran.

Better Way to Be a Business Card Hunter

Get to know people and make a connection before you ask for a business card. This connection will spark people’s memory of you when you reach out to them after the event, so you’ll have a better chance of moving forward with them.

Pop-In Pop-Out Networker

People who introduce themselves to just two attendees and then hang out hugging the wall for several minutes are pop-in, pop-out networkers. Usually, they are introverts because they need to step away to regain their energy before heading back in to make more connections.

Pros: The pop-in and pop-out networker doesn’t have to worry about making meaningless connections at a networking event because he or she doesn’t speak to many people. When walking away from the event, this type doesn’t usually have as many business cards as the Business Card Hunter, but has some real connections to pursue that will likely end up leading to a good opportunity or two.

Cons: Sometimes, this type of networker leaves an event with nothing in hand or without meaningful connections. This can make the person feel as though networking isn’t a good way to grow a business. It’s really about not working the event in the right way.

How to Be a Better Pop-In, Pop-Out Networker

Many introverts network successfully without having to change themselves. They simply find a new way to handle the rush of socialization. They usually stay in groups, so they don’t have to be the center of attention all the time. They speak when they have some input on a topic and then back off when they need a break. This way they are participating in the event without wasting all their energy like in a one-to-one conversation.

Do you fit into one of these networking types? If so, you now know a little more about yourself and you know how to improve your networking approach to make your next networking event a huge success!

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