Networking is defined as the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.  It allows us to trade information with others as well as create long-term relationships that will benefit all parties.

Take Advantage of Those Who Can Help You  

If you belong to an organization like P.O.W.E.R., take advantage of all the opportunities they offer to help you network with other members.  Customer Liaison Representatives are invaluable tools to assist with matching you with possible business connections because they are familiar with their members and their expertise.

Attend Events

Take part in organizational meetings and networking events whenever possible.  Attend conferences and virtual meetings in your profession and other related professions that can give you the opportunity to meet new people and create new contacts.  Do not spend your time monopolizing one person; work the room and introduce yourself to many people. 

Do Not Limit Yourself

Be sure not to limit yourself to people only in your field.  You never know when someone can offer insight or connect you to people who can directly assist you with your career.  Holiday parties are a great way to make business connections. 

Contact Information

Always carry business cards so that you can ensure the people you meet will remember you after the meeting.  Be sure to get their contact information also.

Be Yourself and Be Professional

Keep a positive attitude and open mind when meeting new people.  Explain who you are and what you do, but do not make the conversation all about you. Be a good listener to glean information that a person has to offer.  Keep small talk to a minimum.  Let them know what a pleasure it was to meet them and that you would like to keep in touch.

Follow Up

When you have found a great networking contact, send a follow-up by email or a telephone call within a week’s time frame to solidify the contact.  Take it a step further and set up a lunch meeting or coffee date. 

Be Optimistic

If you do not make a connection right away, keep trying.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Also, don’t look for immediate gratification.  It may take a while for a new contact to develop.

Always Remember

You have to be in it to win it.

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