I love networking events – fun locations, lots of people, and food! As a naturally shy person, however, I don’t always take advantage of said events. I often find myself talking
to the one or two people I already know, which defeats the purpose. I want to meet people and introduce them to my business, so I need to make the most of every breakfast, lunch, and business after hours. Here are a few tips I recently learned and am looking forward to trying (and they’ll work great at writing conferences too):
1. Have a goal: Whether it’s meet five people, or hand out 10 business cards, go in with a plan.
2. Know your elevator pitch: this is necessary at conferences, but also at a small town lunch. No one wants to hear you ramble. Have your novel or business strategy summarized in a 20 second/25 word pitch to share quickly.
3. End your pitch with a question: How about you?
4. Be the listener. Don’t always be the one talking; learn as much as you share.
5. Ask questions: What can I do for you? What services do you need? What would make your life easier?
6. Help OTHERS connect: They may not need your services (or manuscript) but if you know someone who can fill their void, put them together. They’ll remember the person who helped them.
7. Take notes: Don’t just take business cards – make notes on them to help you remember who you spoke with and what he/she needs.
8. Contact people without selling them something: Don’t be the person who immediately starts hocking your wares. Develop a relationship first, then see if there’s anything you can do for them.
9. Follow up: Don’t go home and forget about everyone. At least send a quick, “It was nice to meet you!” email.
10. Remember – you reap what you sow. It’s everyone’s favorite kindergarten lesson – treat others the way you want to be treated. It will come back to you.