Sometimes who you know can be as important as what you know. But have you spent that time working on those connections? Networking is essential to your business, community and your brand. Discovering your networking style – and finding the way to be most effective – can be a huge benefit for you and your business.
Our Chamber membership representatives know a thing or two about connecting in the community. Our own Suzie Schuckman, Dimitry Lewis and Monica Kennedy share their tips for networking:
Be a good listener. “Networking is viewed as merely transactional, but it’s most effective when both parties take the time to invest in learning more about those around them,” Schuckman said.
Be curious. Lewis sheds light on why being curious is a big factor in effective networking: “Being curious is your fuel to keep the conversation going.” By adapting to what is being said and being curious, you won’t get tripped up on what to ask next – it will come naturally.
Be mindful of your audience. “Keeping your audience in mind will give you the best idea of what they are interested in and you’ll be able to keep the conversation stimulating without being cut short,” Kennedy said.
Be right on cue. “Being able to accurately identify people’s cues is paramount in developing great business relationships or connecting others,” Lewis said. Networking conversations are meant to identify business opportunities and build trustful rapport, he added: “It’s about finding a sweet spot to connect with potential clients or make introductions for others.”
Be yourself. “Authenticity is the skill I rely on to help fuel my success,” Schuckman said. People notice when you truly care about what other people have to say. Being open, honest and being yourself is one of the most important things to connect with others and build real relationships.
Go in with a plan. Kennedy explains that time is the most valuable commodity you have, so using your time in an effective manner really matters. Having a simple plan or strategy, like making five new connections or talking to one new person you don’t know, is what will make you feel accomplished and successful at networking.
Bring an associate. “It’s easier to build your networking skills by having a partner that can also move through the room with you,” advises Kennedy. Your networking partner can keep the conversations flowing and be a great person to discuss the connections made after the event.
Whether it’s networking with curiosity, creating a plan before the event or simply practicing more—any networking effort is beneficial to you and your business. “Our membership community is well connected and the relationships the Chamber can introduce you to will transform your business,” Schuckman said.
Want to connect with a membership representative to learn more about tips to better your business? Reach out to our membership team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And, the Chamber has a variety of opportunities to put your networking skills to the test. Check out our upcoming events to start networking today!
Natalie Allen is the customer service coordinator for the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.