Sun | Nov 17, 2019

Networking tips for entrepreneurs and professionals

Published:Sunday | September 22, 2019 | 12:22 AMLaura Butler - Contributor

Networking is one of the greatest tools you have in your job search and in building your career. When you are prepared for a networking event by being proactive, you will be able to maximise the opportunity. Networking is about getting to know people and for them getting to know you.

It is not to be viewed as a hard sell, but more a willingness to meet people that may lead to successful relationships of all kinds. You want to be strategic with your networking, but keep in mind that it is not just who you meet but who they know. When you can make a positive first impression, people are more likely to introduce you to others. People do business with people they know, trust, and like. No matter how great your product or service may be, if people don’t know about you, none of those matters.

Be bold, brave, and intentional with your networking. Make it a habit. Here are a few tips to help improve your networking skills before and while attending events:

1. Be prepared with business cards and a brief introduction of yourself and what you do, the services and products you offer, the benefits, and about your company or business.

2. Dress appropriately and demonstrate a positive, professional personal brand.

3. Demonstrate confidence, good posture, a firm handshake, and eye contact.

4. Communicate effectively and pay attention to your delivery, your volume, pace, pitch, and tone as well as good manners and respect.

5. Ask questions and practice active listening.

6. Show a genuine interest and sincerity in others.

7. Be current with local and international affairs and learn about the event and host.

8. Know about your industry.

9. Use social media and technology to your advantage. Update your information before the event and use the CamCard app to capture and organise business cards to your phone, and use your LinkedIn app to find people nearby and connect.

10. Be strategic. Give cards to those who show a real interest and with whom you would like to reconnect. Don’t spend too long with one person unless it is proving to be mutually beneficial. Finally, follow-up.

- Laura Butler is managing director, Fusion Consulting, Jamaica/Texas, contact her at Fusionconsultingltd@gmail.com or fusionconsultingja.com