Many people think that networking means going to an event to give and receive business cards. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In their effort to create opportunities for their business, these individuals tell people what they are looking for or why someone should do business with them when they should be listening and looking for opportunities to share useful information to help others.
It never ceases to amaze me how often individuals at a networking event spend most of their time trying to out talk each other.
People do business with people that they know, like and trust. For that to happen a relationship must exist. Relationships are developed where communication takes place. When you are seeking to build relationships you should show up with a listening and giving mind set. Eventually, you will be sought out and get referrals if the information you share is useful and relevant.
To prepare to be a great networker, you need to develop communication skills and be well read. You should be knowledgeable of current events and general information in addition to your areas of expertise. In many cases your initial contributions will have nothing to do with your business or the opportunities you are seeking.
Chambers of Commerce and other business organizations have monthly events where networking takes place. Political events and other activities also provide great opportunities to network.
If you contribute positive information, eventually you will be asked what you do.
If you are always networking in this manor you will build the relationships you need and create the opportunities you want.