Four Hot Tips: Network with Intention

group of people networking at an event

Leveraging your personal and business contacts is one of the necessary activities of owning a business. People network for various reasons:

  • To build their businesses
  • To attract clients
  • With no particular intention but to meet and connect with others in their industry
  • Clear intention of looking for that next job opportunity and connecting with people who can help achieve that goal

Whatever your reason is for creating a network, below are some tips to keep in mind.

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Tip 1: Make a real connection

Make a connection with the person you are meeting. Be curious, spend time listening to his/her story and think of some way you can be of service to him/her instead of just launching into your own story. Try to connect them with someone you know who can help solve a problem they are having and maintain the connection on an ongoing basis. If you want to add them to your email list, ask them first!

Tip 2: It is who you know

In most organized and established networking groups, it is helpful to know someone already in the group; choose someone who has worked with you or who can vouch for you, establishing immediate credibility. Walking into these groups cold, not knowing anyone, can result in a slow entry and long acceptance period.

Tip 3: Get clear on your intent

Be very clear about why you are going to a particular networking function or joining a particular group. Do you want to be among peers and find referral and/or collaboration partners? Or are you networking to find potential clients? You may find both in the same group, but most people will network in one group with peers and a separate group with potential clients.

Tip 4: Know your potential client

When choosing a networking event where there are potential clients, be really clear who your target client is first. For example, if your target clients are corporate professionals, then networking in a small business type group, like a BNI (Business Network International), doesn’t make sense. Social media can give you a good indication of who is attending different types of events.

When you consider the impact of each of these tips on their own and as a whole, you are armed with the tools to network more successfully in 2018! That is my wish for you!

Sandra Hughes

Sandra Hughes, MBA CPCC is a mentor and business strategist who is about one thing: elevating people to their full potential. Before starting her own business, over 30 years she held several management positions and was at Gap for 12 years — at one point becoming a Senior Real Estate Executive within the international division. Now, she helps professionals, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and consultants realign their lives in order to maximize their talent, reflect their values, and achieve the income they need to live and retire comfortably.

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