If you want to become one of the businesspersons that people love doing business with, you need to be networking both appropriately and competently. The poorest business networking mistake is to begin your networking at the point where you really need it. If you left it until that point, it’s already too late.

1. Your Elevator Pitch
Who are you and what is your business? What do you love about your company? We know you are passionate about your business and you could talk about it at length, but can you do it in 60 seconds? Make your presentation short and sweet: be brief. Something short and memorable that leaves people wanting more.

2. Listen
Use the details you found online with the details shared during your initial meeting with a person’s career or business to start the conversation for networking. When you are talking with someone, look them in the eye and really pay attention to what they are saying. If you do talk, ask open-ended questions and be genuinely interested in the person you are talking to. Remember: people will forget your name, but will never forget how you made them feel.

group handshake

3. Research
Check for events around you. Lookup contacts or attendees at events and check their social media or networking profiles. Find out what they are interested in whether it’s professionally or personally: passions, hobbies, how they like spending their time. Read their blog posts and learn about their challenges and goals. Find what you have in common with them or how you can help them reach their goals.

4. Disengage
Do it politely, but how? There are a couple of tactics. You can tell them you don’t want to use up all their time. You can tell them you need to see someone that you have to talk to. You can excuse yourself to go to the restroom. You can even tell them you’d like to keep meeting people at an event.
Whether professional, academic, religious, athletic, or other form, networking allow us to expand our business, create a reputation for ourselves, and engage in new activities and opportunities. These same benefits can apply to your business as well. Check out our networking meetups at The Enterprise center for more networking opportunities.