IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are in the Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill area and would like more information on how you and your company can get involved with the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce (link), including membership benefits, contact Kim Niskey, (919)-360-8665, [email protected]
One of my new initiatives as a business owner for 2014 is joining my local chamber of commerce (in my case the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce) and to utilize opportunities to network, sell my services and attend educational workshops. On Friday, January 17th, I attended my first event, “Networking with Power,” with an excellent speaker, Jeff Tippett (link), Senior Marketing Manager with The Publicus Community. (link)
Jeff began by having the 50+ attendees giving 30 second introductions of themselves and one major change they were going to make in 2014. This illustrated how even in quick introductions, we can network and identify valuable business connections. Jeff then went into his 8 points for productive networking:
1. Networking is not your goal. The point: sometimes it is easy to get so wrapped up in networking it becomes a goal onto itself. We need to always remember what business goals we are trying to achieve through networking. This way we can target the optimal events and people to achieve business success.
2. It’s all about me. When we network, we need to be bold to introduce ourselves, meet others, be a positive presence, and be able to articulate our own unique attributes, or brand. We need to be our own best public relations machine. Also we need to be very aware of the messages we send via our online social media presence.
3. I lied – it’s not all about you. Yes, even though I may need to promote myself via networking, I do need to have a keen focus on others, listening to them, understanding their needs, using my connections to help them.
4. You need to stand out in a good way. Walk into a room with a smile, be dressed appropriately, look bright and alert.
5. Follow up, don’t leave them hanging. When we attend networking events, we often make promises, collect business cards, etc. We need to follow through with what we say to others. Jeff even suggested sending handwritten cards to maximize impact of that initial meeting.
6. Stalking works. Before attending an event, we can often research who is going to be there. We should proactively identity the key people attending we want to meet and make sure we connect with them at the event.
7. Keep them awake. In our quick introductions while networking, we should be able to provide a meaningful introduction of ourselves in 15-20 seconds. And we also need to make the introduction titillating enough so that our listeners will want to know more and ask us some follow up questions.
8. Generally – be awesome! This can include helping others, being reliable, being positive, being passionate about what we do.
My first Greater Raleigh Chamber event was a very worthwhile investment of my time and I am looking forward to more!