Everyone has their own interpretation of what networking means and how one should behave at a networking event. Many have the attitude of “quantity is king” and they will race through events collecting as many business cards as possible without taking the time to establish quality rapport with other professionals. Hopefully, this isn’t the way you’re networking.
Networking isn’t about gathering business cards as fast as you can and then following up a day later with a request to meet with your new “prospect”. It’s about building a mutually beneficial relationship; one in which you should be offering value to your new contact first. Whether this be a business referral or offering a creative idea on how you both can work together to build your respective books of business.
You should act strategically but at the same time you should have a givers mindset. Don’t only focus on shaking hands with a coveted top decision maker but rather also the professionals at every level that will diversify your network. Find other contacts that work in an industry that complements yours and establish a working referral relationship if possible. Take the first step and think of ways of helping them first so they see you are serious about helping each other out. Givers will gain and you have to take the first step in order to start the relationship off on the right foot.
Take a look at some other tips that will make you a better networker: