I’m often asked what is the difference between attending a networking event and networking using social media. The answer is not much.
Yes, it’s true. At the former, you need to dress for success; the latter can be done in your pajamas. Otherwise, it’s all about the same. Whether you are online or offline, remember to be a connector. Keep the conversation about them, not you. Be sure to follow up to keep your network strong.
The people who succeed in networking are those who build a community by connecting other people. Introduce people whom you feel will benefit from knowing each other. If a relationship develops, you might benefit, too. The more people who talk about you as someone they trust and helped to grow their business, the more success you will earn as a professional.
When networking, focus on everyone’s favorite subject: themselves. Ask questions. We all like that person who shows genuine interest in us. Be that person and you will receive the same rewards. Make sure you have your elevator pitch ready so you can share it when the time is right. Remember, the less you talk about yourself, the better the conversation seems to others.
Follow-up is the most important factor in networking. Most people don’t. To keep your network growing and strong, you must keep in touch. People are busy and don’t take the time to keep in touch. Take the initiative to call, stop by or send an email. (Emails are not as strong as the other two). It makes a big difference in strengthening your network.