Local Networking

13 Local Networking Tips For Effective Professional Networking

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Local networking can help you with building your business network. These business networking tips will help you learn effective professional networking.

Before social networking, there was local networking. Before the age of the internet, people met in person at local events to build relationships and conduct business.

Even if you have an online business, it still helps to meet people in-person at industry conferences or events. Many top business people still prefer doing business in person, because only when you actually meet someone and get a sense of who they are, can you decide whether you really want to do business with them or not.

Now that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us and local business networking events are starting to pick up speed once again, you can get back to local networking and start building your business network.

Professional networking is a great way to improve your local business by building strong relationships with potential clients and customers and getting known as a local expert in your niche.

But, if you want to be successful at professional networking, it’s imperative that you know how to do it effectively. Otherwise, you might not only fail to accomplish your goals, but it could backfire. These business networking tips will help you learn the art of local networking.

1. Choose the Right Events

Know why you want to go to events. If you want to meet your competition, choose industry events like TiECon. If you want to meet your ideal client, choose events that will attract them. Start with small business networking events and work your way up to bigger ones.

You can often find local events via Facebook groups, and also via local networking sites like Meetup.com. Also, search Google or check out Eventbrite for local events in your area and pick the ones that will help you reach your goals.

2. Know Your Goal Or Plan

Before you show up at any event, you should have a plan. Each event will call for a different plan to help you network more effectively. When you know the audience and how to appeal to them, you’ll do a lot better at each event.

You may have a goal to meet other people in your industry or to meet people who may qualify to become your customer. Each event goal will depend on who is attending as much as who is hosting the event.

3. Study Up on Your Audience

You can do this a little before you show up by looking at the membership directory of some types of groups, but you can also do it on the fly as you’re at the event.

Take time to listen to the audience during socializing so that you can get to know them. If it’s a longer networking event, use the first day to listen, then the second day to get to know people more and the third day to let them know you.

4. Dress the Part and Smile

It’s hard to remember that first impressions play a big role. You should be yourself, of course. Dress your truth and your style, not someone else’s.

Depending on the event you go to, you may need to dress a certain way. For example, if you’re going to a business networking event with a lot of lawyers, you probably should wear formal business networking attire.

But, if you’re going to an event full of coders or people who work from home, you can probably dress more casually. In every case, you should dress how you feel most comfortable, but also in a way that makes your audience more comfortable.

Of course, you do want to look approachable, so watch how you rest your face. Some people look mean when they don’t smile, and some people look fine. Ask your friends for help and feedback so you know how you come across to others.

5. Know the Layout of the Place

If the business networking event is at a hotel and offers drinks or separate socializing areas, check out the various spots people congregate. Know where the bathroom and other key places are so that if anyone asks you can tell them. But also so you can move through the room confidently without looking lost.

Professional Networking

6. Introduce Yourself First

When you attend any local networking event, whether it’s yours or someone else’s, one way to make an impression is to learn how to work a room. If you go in with a plan of action, you can leave as the star of the event.

In most cases, the person who puts their hand out first and introduces themselves demonstrates that they have more confidence and power than the person who waited.

Introduce yourself using a short and engaging pitch about yourself and get that awkwardness out of the way, so you can get on with getting to know people. Develop a few different ways of introducing yourself so that it’s memorable.

For example, if your name rhymes with something, you can use that to your advantage – especially if it’s a word related to your niche. You can also think of ways to insert your intro into various conversations that are common at events. You want it to be natural but memorable.

6. Show Interest in Others

It’s funny how self-centered most of us are. It’s not a bad thing. It’s human nature. But you can use that in your favor by asking people appropriate questions about themselves and their business.

Let them do most of the talking. People who get to talk with you will remember you more than if you did all the talking.

7. Learn their Names & Faces

Some people are very good at remembering names and faces, others aren’t. Sometimes it’s not your fault if you cannot remember faces very well, but you can train yourself to do better.

Try to connect their face and name to their business in your mind with word games. Repeat their name more than once when you meet them, and try to introduce them to at least one other person which will help you remember more.

8. Introduce Them to Others

A really great way to stand out at events is to be a resource to people and conduct introductions between people that you think can help each other. When you are good at connecting with people, the expertise of others rubs off onto you.

9. Move through the Room

Don’t just stick with the same crowd the entire event. You want to try to talk to a few people. In fact, set a goal for how many people you want to talk to at any business networking event you go to.

It can be tempting to stick by the people you already know, but you should work the room by moving through it and meeting new people.

10. Bring Your Best Self

When you’re in public at an event, the worst thing you can do is start complaining about other people or things. Instead, be focused, positive, and helpful.

Bring your best self to each event by letting your confidence shine through by smiling and behaving with the poise and dignity you are capable of.

I usually like to practice a centering meditation before I attend any event, offline or online so I can stay calm and centred when meeting others.

Business Networking

11. Don’t Forget to Follow Up

Never forget to follow up with people you talked to, especially if you promised to give them some information about anything. You want to follow up with anyone you spoke to for a few minutes if you have their information.

Don’t immediately try to sell them something, but do follow up with any info that you promised them or make connections you know would be great for them.

A great tip for following up is to send people information, books, articles or a useful freebie about topics you discussed at the business networking event. Do something nice that goes a little out of your way for the people that you really want to make an impression on.

12. Connect on Social Networks

Another follow-up tip is to connect with those you met on social networks like LinkedIn, especially if you want to share your posts and articles with them or get them to subscribe to your newsletter.

When you send a LinkedIn invite, mention at which business networking event you met them and state one positive thing about the event that really stood out to you. That will help them recall you more easily and build instant rapport.

13. Start your own Business Networking Group

Starting a local business networking group on social networking sites like Meetup.com is a great way to become known for your expertise in your local community.

But, before you start one you need to think about your overall goal for starting and maintaining the group – both from the members’ perspectives and from your own.

Business networking events can help boost your business exponentially, but only if you learn how to make an impression. It might take a little practice, but you can get this down.

You may not realize it, but you can likely find at least one local networking event per week to attend in and near your local area that will fit your criteria.

Try going to a lot of business networking events in the beginning, so that you get plenty of practice and build confidence, then narrow it down to events your ideal clients attend.

You can rapidly grow into a brilliant networker and build your own powerful and authentic network with this Masterclass by Keith Ferrazzi, the world’s No. 1 networking coach who trains the world’s most successful and connected people.

Click here to sign up for this Free Masterclass

Local networking will pay off when you pick the right events, know how to be yourself, let people know who you are, and become a resource for everyone. If they know they can call on you to connect them to what they need, they’re going to remember you.

Building your business network is not hard when you know the art of local networking. These business networking basics will help you learn the art of effective professional networking.

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