As the holidays approach, many of us will be attending social mixers so it’s a good idea to address networking techniques with the intent of deepening relationships with the people you meet. It’s important to note that live events and online networking can be complementary for putting new and existing connections on solid foundations!
No matter what relationship building medium is used, we are still connecting with people on the other end (and some forget that when they are busy trying to sell in a networking environment!). You can apply these tips in a live social event as well as when you communicate online with people that are part of a group, like LinkedIn Groups. Here you’ll find groups to join and you can do your research on members within LinkedIn!
Tip 1: Set your networking goals
When you go to a gathering or online group, arrive with goals. LinkedIn Groups allow you to receive an email every time there is a new discussion in the group so you can respond and engage. Although you can join up to 50 LinkedIn groups, it’s reasonable to be involved with just a few, so you’ll need to decide which group is lucky to have you on a consistent basis. It’s still recommended to belong to many groups because when you are connected to a large number of groups, your network increases exponentially. Therefore, do both; engage consistently with a few, but belong to many.
- Your target audience
- Your peers
- Other areas of interest
Frequent contributions to the group establishes your credibility as an expert so it’s important to stay in touch and make new connections through introductions and resources. Consistent contributions with your group deepens your relationships.
TIP 2: Be prepared by making your networking effective.
Join a group that interest you with people you want to meet—you can have an instant connection since there is a reason you are in the same gathering as others.
- What is the reason you want to be part of that group?
- What resources are you willing to share?
- How can your expertise benefit the members?
TIP 3: Do or say something unique that will leave the other person with a way to remember you.
In a live event, you can always wear a red jacket, interesting ornament (tie clip, jewelry, etc.) or say something that points to you when you want to develop a relationship.
When I was at an association meeting with 80 people in an audience, the presenter (a global speaker) made a comment about the challenges of speaking to an audience from New Jersey. I quickly raised my hand to voluntarily state that I was from New Jersey which created a lot of laughter in the room and great discussion during the mixing hour. The speaker also remembered me when I made a follow-up call to her!
When you are online and thinking about your connections, send them something unique based on a social gathering discussion or something you see in their profile. It could be a link, article, video, introduction, your expertise or a referral. What will make you stand out in a good way?
TIP 4: Contribute to the group and connect with individual members.
In a live social event such as a mixer or meeting, you can speak, get involved by serving on a board or become a committee member. With a LinkedIn group, you can start your own group, contribute to other groups through updates based on the group interest, connect with individuals and send them something specific or introduce them to a resource (person, article, other organizations, etc.) based on conversations you’ve had or the information you see in their profile. To get noticed, you can:
- Be a consistent contributor.
- Show your interest in a genuine way.
- Be a resource and conduit.
- Demonstrate your expertise.
Communicating with a Fellow Group Member:
If you’re not connected with a group member, here’s a step by step to get in touch:
- Go to Interest.
- Select Groups.
- Choose the Group you are interested in. Click on the number of members in the group (top right).
- Create your message and “send message”. You can also go to the “discussions tab” and click on the picture of the person you want to send a message to! Under the member’s name, select “send message”.
(Note that each member has the ability to allow or disallow this feature under their own settings tab.)
Tip 5: Follow up on your commitments.
Think of the disappointment you have when others don’t deliver. Is that how you want to be remembered?
I was recently at an ICF meeting and met with a coach that works with a very targeted audience. I thought of him during a recent search and saw an article pertaining to his audience. I mentioned the article to Karl during the meeting and promised to forward it to him. The article was sent to Karl the same day as the meeting. He will remember me and my follow-up.
- When attending a live event, ask for connections with the people you’ve met.
- In a LinkedIn group discussion, ask for connections with people that have shared in the same discussions as you!
- Grow your relationships with networking and grow your sales!
Go to my blog on following-up to become an expert!
Penny Pearl is a networking expert in social events and online using LinkedIn. Please comment or email Penny at: Penny@Bear2BullCoaching.com
Penny Pearl offers detailed articles on how to use LinkedIn sharing features on her blog: http://bear2bullcoaching.com/linkedin-book-marklet-share-anywhere
Penny is Founder of Bear2Bull Coaching is skilled in networking both at live social events and online. She coaches entrepreneurs, start-ups and sales organizations on how to build better networking skills to generate new sales and increase business. Penny is an entrepreneur with a strong sales background and a Board Member for the International Coach Federation, Sacramento Chapter as the Professional Development Chair. Her engaging coaching style makes the adventure of learning online business building networking skills simple so you can get results to grow your sales!