Networking Ideas – How to work a room

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Over the past year I have had the opportunity to speak at the local chamber in my city – the Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce.  The lunch-time program is always packed but they give me eight minutes each week and asked me to share some networking ideas for the members.  It has been a great place to network for me and sharing the tips each month has opened some new doors for my business.  I decided that it might be helpful to share the ideas here.  Hope you find some value.

How to Work a Room:

  1. Enter the room with the goal of meeting three people that you can help by:
    • Networking them to someone you know
    • Mentoring through a tough decision that you made before (Internet service, website, hiring, firing, etc.)
  2. Ask open-ended questions:
    • The more you know about their business the better chance you have of know if you can help them or they can help you!
    • Ask questions that that include: who, what, where, when, and how and not those that can be answered with a simple yes or no.
    • You want to start a discussion and show listeners that you are interested in them.
  3. Become known as a “person who knows everyone.”
    • When you are known as a strong resource, people will turn to you for suggestions, ideas, names of other people, etc. Now you are visible to them and have a reason to continue the conversation.
  4. Be able to clearly articulate what you do, who your customer is, and what makes you special and/or different from others doing the same thing.
    • Try the 3, 30, 3, 30 concept. Can you tell someone what you do in 3 seconds or 30 seconds? If the conversation continues can you tell them what you need in and how they can help you in 3 minutes and/or 30 minutes?
  5. Be able to articulate what you are looking for and how others may help you.
    • Too often in a networking situation, a person will ask, “How may I help you?” and no immediate answer comes to mind.
  6. Have a clear plan to follow-up immediately with referrals you are given.
    • When people give you referrals, your actions are a reflection on them. Respect and honor that and your referrals will grow.
    • If you promise to help someone, follow-through immediately.
  7. Follow-up with those that you meet who may benefit from your services:
    • Express that you enjoyed meeting them, and ask if you could get together and share ideas.

All of these concepts are pretty simple and not anything new.  But, perhaps the list will help you refocus on the goals and concepts of networking.

I plan to use the concepts when I “work the room” at the event later today.

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