Improve Your Affiliate Network and Peer Relationships
Everyone needs to be an effective networker. It doesn't matter whether you've built the perfect affiliate network or landed the job of your dreams. Nothing is infinite, and you never know when you'll need to leverage your connection's help. Being well-liked and well-respected in your local and national business community is among the most important career accomplishments you can achieve.
Here are ways to make the most of your next limo show, networking event, or other peer gathering:
1. Hone Your Elevator Pitch
There's a reason they're called "elevator pitches" - because they should be short and concise enough to be delivered in more than 10-20 seconds. Make sure you've fully defined your personal or organizational value proposition in a way that leaves your audience hungry for more - not nodding off to take a nap. Define what makes you different, and make that your focus.
2. Listen Carefully
The world's most charismatic people are often just excellent listeners. Regardless of who you're talking to, give them your full attention. Nod and make eye contact to indicate the fact you care about what they have to say. No one deserves any less.
3. Take Notes
Depending on how your meeting is structured, it may behoove you to make a few notes on the back of business cards. Defining key factors about each individual you meet can aid in better follow-ups that are personalized to the topics you discussed.
4. Strive for Quality, Not Quantity
Does anyone really remember the guy (or gal) who spends their networking event slinging business cards like hot potatoes? It's far better to make just a handful of outstanding connections than barely distinguish yourself among everyone at the event. Don't cut conversations short, and strive to communicate how you can help each person you touch.
5. Immediately Follow-Up
The proper way to deal with business cards after an event isn't to stuff them in your suitcase or pour them in your desk drawer. You won't find the time to deal with them later, and if you do, the people you've met won't be as fresh in your memory. Similarly, you should never stop your follow-up by just sending out LinkedIn requests. Write personalized notes thanking the people you've met for their time. If you're hoping to land a job, business relationship or key affiliate, send a personalized card and a request to meet in the near future.
6. Keep Your Network Warm
Few people are willing to go out of their way to help someone they briefly met at a networking event 5 years ago, and haven't spoken to since. The strength of your network isn't measured by number of connections, it's measured by the quality of your relationships. Communicate regularly with your connections, and set up regular coffee dates with everyone you can.
7. Practice Exceptional Follow-Up Meeting Etiquette
If you're the one to request a follow-up meeting with a new connection, treat it like you would an important first date or job interview - even if you're not trying to gain anything as concrete as employment from the relationship. Be flexible about scheduling, 15 minutes early, and offer to buy the other person's coffee. Send a hand-written thank you card once the session is over.
How have you become more effective at networking?image credit: stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net