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How to Network Efficiently
We all know how important networking is for building a business or promoting a project, but what are the best practices for networking? How do we know when we’re doing it right? Here are a few tips to get you started and nurture the connections you make while attending a blog conference.
- Be Yourself: Your contacts aren’t just buying into your blog, they’re putting stake in you. They want to know you, the real you, and create a lasting relationship. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and talk about what your passionate about or share what motivates you. People want to know and I’m sure that you would also like to know who your strongest supporters are, so don’t be afraid to share a piece of yourself with others.
- Know Your Audience: Every conversation you participate in is different and one pitch will most definitely not fit them all. When striking up a conversation with a fellow blogger or brand, get to know their mission, interests and future pursuits. Bring up topics that you know will be of interest and don’t bring up those that maybe less well received. Also be aware of whether you should use a more personal or professional approach.
- Target Your Approach: Think about how you fit into the picture and direct a conversation that includes you and your blog. Knowing your audience is also key in keeping the conversation interesting and useful. This is essential, since the reason that we attend conferences in the first place is to connect with those types of individuals. Make a point to approach those that you know fit with your own personal or professional mission and don’t be afraid to ask for a business card or email address.
- Choose Your Words Wisely: Most times there’s no way of knowing who is partnered with who, behind the scenes, so speaking negatively about another brand or blogger can put you in a seriously uncomfortable position. Be sure to redirect conversations if a potentially touchy topic arises and excuse yourself when bashing begins. It’s nothing that you want to be a part of, trust me.
- Promote From Within: If you’re working on other projects, collaborating with fellow bloggers or have experience in a field that others might not be aware of, speak up. You never know when you just might say the right thing and peak the interest of a potential sponsor or collaborator. The best way to let people know what you’re up to is to tell them about it.
- Take Notes: You’ll meet a lot of people in those couple of days at the conference and you likely won’t remember every conversation, name or offer you’ve gotten. Be sure to write notes in your address book or on the backs of business cards. Keep things in order and be sure to add all the most important and relevant details.
- Follow Up: Perhaps the most important tip of all. After you’ve done the networking, gone home and had some veg time…pick up your notebook or address book and start following up with your connections. Maybe you could wait a week or even two, but don’t wait too long. Contact individuals while both your memory and theirs is still fresh. You may not work together on a project right away, but it’s important to keep in touch if you expect to in the future.
What other tips would you add? What are your keys to successful networking?
© 2011 – 2012, Chantilly Patiño. All rights reserved.