A lot of people dread networking events. Too often, they end up standing in a corner, chatting aimlessly with people they already know.
So are they a waste of your time? No, if you’re strategic in your approach, you can actually gain new contacts, and even clients, from networking.
Five tips for people who hate networking:
1. Make people come to you. There’s automatically a power imbalance when you approach someone and say, “I really wanted to meet you.” So why not turn the tables? Take a leadership role in your organization (Chamber of Commerce, trade association, women’s business network). That way, you wield the power because you dole out invitations to speakers – and everyone always wants to meet the person in charge.
2. Set a numerical goal. Vow that you’ll talk to at least three people you don’t know. That concrete goal will remind you of the point of attending–to meet some new contacts–and it will help push you out of your comfort zone, so you don’t spend most of the night chatting with old friends.
3. Get their card. I know that some people measure their networking success by the number of business cards they give out. But the fact is, no one is going to keep your card safely tucked away until the need arises. You’re lucky if it actually makes it past the trash that evening. You simply can’t rely on other people to remember you, or even email you their contact info, regardless of whether they promise to do so. You need to collect their card – because only you can be counted on to retain their contact information.
For the complete article, visit BNET
Dorie Clark is CEO of Clark Strategic Communications and the author of Reinventing You. She is a strategy consultant who has worked with clients including Google, the National Park Service, and Yale University. Listen to her podcasts or follow her on Twitter.