Most of us attend a number of professional, social, and business events. But do you do more than hand out your business card and collect the ones handed to you?
You can make social events and meetings more than a gathering of people by networking properly and using your business card wisely. Make those who receive your card want to write notes on the back that will make him or her your client.
First and foremost, don't underestimate the power of small talk. Small talk can lead to bigger things. Don't dismiss gatherings because you rarely get past the chitchat. Take the opportunity to lead small talk into more meaningful and valuable exchanges. Maybe someone will write, "Friendly" on the back of your card. This is important especially if you are a small or home business owner.
Introduce yourself in a memorable way. The first thing you tell someone about yourself should capture the person's attention. For example, if you're a computer programmer, introduce yourself as "the person who makes computers work for people." This will encourage someone to make a special note about you on the business card you hand to him.
Go in with an agenda. Ask yourself what you really want to get out of going to these networking sessions. Then ask yourself what you can give to someone. When someone asks for your input, be aware of what you can provide to that person, not just your product, but useful information. A note on the back of your business card "____ expert!" Give good, practical advice and become a source.
If you know who will attend, identify the people or person you actually would like to meet and talk with before the event. This helps you focus on a purpose and avoid the fruitless card collecting. It's not about how many cards you collect.
Always make sure to jot down the date and event on the back of the card you receive. You can also make notes such as "husband's/wife's name is," "has a cat named Susie."
Reconnect after the meeting. Don't just exchange business cards. Try to set a specific time and day to meet again, either in person or with a phone call. Do it within the first week of the event. I suggest calling the next day or at the second day with a "it was great meeting" call. Do this only if you feel it's true.
Business books that help you succeed.
I highly recommend this oldie, but goodie Dig Your Well before You're Thirsty: The only networking book you'll ever need by Harvey Mackay. I have recommended this book to so many people because it is not written in jargon and gives practical networking advice that you can use everyday.