By John Boyanoski, president of Complete Public Relations
Greenville has a little bit of networking glut right now. There are a lot of events to go to. A lot. You can go to something every day of the week and still not reach all of them in Greenville. Why is that? Well, every small business and non-profit group is trying to grow their brand by getting people in the door with the promise of networking and meeting new people. The problem is these events don’t really introduce people to each other. Most of the time ( us included) ended up talking to the same people we have known for a long time or haven’t seen in a long time or have no intention of seeing again in a long time.
How do you, then, get the most out of networking without coming across as either just trying to make a sale or someone who doesn’t know how to make small talk? Five easy tips.
Ask why: It’s easy to ask someone what they do, but ask them whythey do it. You will get a better answer and make a connection.
Force yourself to meet someone new: This is hard because we all fall into comfort zones, but if you are networking you need to be actually networking.
Don’t ask for a business card: If someone wants to connect with you, they will offer you a business card. Asking someone for their card off the bat, makes you seem pushy and not really wanting to make a connection.
Be specific: If you want to connect with someone after the event, be specific. Don’t just say let’s do coffee. That almost guarantees coffee won’t have. Instead, say “can I get you coffee next Friday morning?”
Consistency counts:Going to an event and then not showing up again for six months is not going to help you grow. You need to make a list of events you want to attend, and make sure you attend each of them every time. That way people start recognizing you and your name grows in that circle.