As busy professionals, full/part time students or savvy networkers, going from one appointment to the next can in turn involve traffic. Whether you take public transportation, drive or walk, you will encounter congestion if you live in a major city. It is the same way with networking. If you are focused on building your networks, attending events and joining associations, you can expect to encounter many people. The good news is that high volumes of interactions such as meeting new people can be a good thing if it is managed properly.
Listed below are ways in which individuals can take advantage of the new people they meet and develop good relations for productive networking.
Before you attend your next networking event have a solid game plan. Create objectives for the types of people you want to meet or industries for good connections. Gauge how many people will be at the event and bring plenty of business cards. Arrive early or on time and make sure to connect with the organizer, host or speaker of the event. If this is your first time attending the event sponsored by a particular organization, consider joining their mailing list or going to another event in the future. If this organization proves to be a good fit, take the next step to join as a member and get involved.
At the networking event, definitely proceed with caution when it comes to passing out business cards and following up. Make yourself available to do business or be a resource if the connection is a valid one. In other words, do not over extend yourself or over promise. Your main goal is to build trust and be credible with your business or social counterparts. Remember to be a good listener and observer in these networking conversations. Look for shared interests and overlapping networks for building good relations. Do exchange business cards if you believe there is a mutual benefit.
During the conversations, refrain from giving too much personal or professional information to your counterpart. Most likely this is an initial interaction and the purpose of the connection is get to know each person and develop from there. Asking for referrals, leads or access to someone’s network can be seen an intrusive and not professional. You always want to make a good first impression and respect your counterparts. The best thing is to be focused on understanding the other person, learning about them and finding ways to network with each other.