Networking: The magic word that is somehow supposed to, in one fell swoop, both recruit new members and fulfill the professional needs of your current members. It sounds simple enough, but networking can be more complicated than you think. It’s so much more than just putting a bunch of colleagues into one room, and it can even be done incorrectly and drive off members and participants!
But you’re right in one respect: face-to-face networking is really important to associations of all sizes and it is a huge draw to spur engagement. We produced a free networking guide, but here’s a quick sample to get you started while you wait for the download! (Just kidding, the download should only take a second!)
Here are some helpful hints for networking success:
1) Be polite. It seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised how easy it seems to interrupt conversations, snatch up good seats, or inadvertently get in someone’s way.
2) Invest in conversation. Folks remember good conversation, and equate it with good things like intelligence and compatibility. Take the time to actually talk with people, rather than drop your business card and run.
3) Take your time. Networking is a marathon, not a sprint, and getting good at it or getting the results you’re looking for won’t happen in one event. You have to keep “getting your name out there” in order for it to work!
4) Remember your cards. It’s how people will be able to contact you in the future.
5) Have your elevator speech prepared. What makes you great? Consider how you will introduce yourself, “sell” yourself as a leader and successful candidate, and the next big idea.
6) Have the goal in mind. Are you looking to find a mentor? Make business connections? Meet your next boss? Find friends? The goal in mind is going to drastically change how you interact with people, so keep that in mind!
There’s so much more in our free networking guide! Happy interacting!