8 Essential Networking Tips for Your Business

In honor of international networking week (2/5/18 - 2/9/18), we want to focus our efforts on networking! The Lake Area Chamber of Commerce has a number of networking events throughout the year. If you are looking to improve your networking skills, now's the time to start! Networking is one of the best ways to grow your business acquaintances. To learn how you can make improvements, take a look at the tips below.

1) Gravitate toward new people.

It's always fun to catch up with old acquaintances and friends, but keep in mind the purpose of a networking event. Meeting new people is a great way to continue to grow your network. You can always make a friendly introduction from a new networking partner to an old acquaintance. This can help you show the new networker that you take networking seriously and you want to help them meet others, as well.

2) STOP selling and listen. 

Sell, sell, sell is a quick way to put off a number of networkers. It's not a good tactic and can seem very tasteless. Listen to others as you attend a networking event - you will find natural ques in which you can inform others about your business product or service. Listening can help to build a lasting relationship with others instead of looking for a quick sale.

3) Keep your cards handy.

Business cards a great networking tool. Once you've exchanged cards with someone - they have your contact information handy. It's also a great way to stay top-of-mind with those you have met. Remember to follow up with those you've exchanged cards with if you discussed doing business together or setting up a meeting outside of the networking event.

4) Be approachable and smile.

While many people do not realize it, they may seem intimidating or unapproachable. Try to keep a friendly smile on your face when attending a networking event. Give a smile to anyone that you make eye contact with. It helps them feel more welcome and may help the two of you spark up a conversation.

5) Make others feel welcome.

If you see someone standing on their own, break away from your group and make them feel welcome. Introduce yourself and start getting to know this person. You will likely get them to open up very quickly since they can feel your kindness. Many people will not remember exactly what you have said at a networking event, but they will remember how you have made them feel.

6) Get to know someone on a personal level.

Many times small talk can lead to sharing personal information. This is where connections really start to build. It's okay to share personal information at a business networking event - people like to do business with other people they have a personal connection with. Personal relationships are much more memorable than business conversations - be memorable and connect on a personal level with fellow networkers.

7) Ask questions when someone shares with you. 

After a fellow networker has shared something with you, ask questions about it. This can help show that you really were paying attention and that you care about what they have to say. It's also another way to get connected and help make a memorable relationship with one another.

8) Practice good eye contact, not awkward eye contact.

Eye contact is an unspoken communication method. It's important to look someone in the eye when meeting them and having a conversation. Don't take this too far and creep them out, though. Be natural with your eye contact and don't stare at another networker during your conversation. This may be seen as you zoning out and staring or being a little awkward.

Network with us!

Are you ready to improve your networking skills? You are in luck! The Lake Area Chamber hosts monthly networking socials at the Lake of the Ozarks on the third Tuesday of each month. These events take place at various Lake Area Chamber member locations. Check our Facebook page for updates on the location and time for each month's social. Members and future members are always welcome to join in the action! We look forward to meeting you at our next social. 

Now that you've learned more about these networking tips and our upcoming networking socials, you are prepared to test out your new skills! Networking is an important part of owning a business. It's a great way to grow your personal and business connections and help gain exposure for your business. As your Lake of the Ozarks chamber, we want to help you grow your business in every way we can. Be sure to join us in our networking socials - they are designed to help you get to know fellow members and business owners in the area! You never know, you may be able to meet your next big client at our event!

Contact Your Lake Area Chamber Of Commerce!

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