If the answer is no, it’s time to put on your best suit and attitude, and venture out to make some friends. You may be connecting with people through email or over phone, but it’s never the same thing as saying a ‘Hi’ with a great smile in person. Even today, in this time of digitally connected and savvy people, business owners are more comfortable engaging with their contacts in person than online. If you have been postponing offline networking for some time now, it’s time to get out and say a ‘Hello’! And the good news is, there are quite a few ways to do it…
What offline networking options do you have?
1. Let’s start with the traditional and ever-popular industry trade shows. They last a number of days, don’t cost much to participate in, and are filled with potential clients and business partners. However, in today’s times, when we are all short of time and want to make the most of it, here’s an important tip – attend only those trade show sessions that provide real value information and spend rest of the time networking with people from your industry.
2. Next, how about meeting up with local professionals from your industry over lunch or coffee? You don’t have to try too hard – you can visit sites like Meetup.com to connect with businesses, investors and business owners with common interests. You may just hit upon your next big business move or marketing plan over insightful conversations! And of course, as a bonus, you will be giving your business the visibility it so deserves.
3. You can even set the stage for networking right at your home. Chat up relatives and friends who can open up different opportunities. Once you have zeroed in on a few target contacts, ask your family/friend to introduce you to them and put in a good word for you.
4. Why limit networking to only business hours? Be social and nice all the time. Try talking to people waiting in line with you at the grocery checkout or bank – you may find a great friend or if you are lucky, even an important business contact. Start off with small talk first instead of swooping right into business chatter.
Note to self: Be pleasant company. You can make a first good impression on potential customers at a party, conference, meeting and indeed your local supermarket. Read on to find out how….
Dos and don’ts of offline networking
All of us, at one time or another, have met a rather annoying guest at a party who just wouldn’t stop talking about only his/her interests. Obviously, these are not the shoes you want to be in when you are trying to strike a good chord. Golden rule: don’t be a brand, be a person. There is no doubting the importance of brand recognition, but it’s not all what networking is about. It is more about connecting on a personal level and gradually building trust. When you strike a chord with people, they will definitely seek information about your business. So, remember to:
- Talk about common interests
- Share news of interest with the person
- Be cheerful and straightforward
Besides one-on-one conversations, there are several other ways to be visible without trying too hard. For instance, you can make a point at a meeting or ask a question at a conference. Whatever you do and however you connect with people, always remember to recognize the other person and yes, have a little fun!
About the Author: Penny is a senior ebook writer and resume writer with content writing service firm Godot Media. She has interests ranging from social media, copywriting to following web technologies and trends.