Networking isn’t rocket science. It’s common sense, common courtesy and bit of effort.

To get the most of any networking effort, you should:

  • Show up early. Get there 15 minutes prior to start time. Show commitment and have a chance to connect with other early birds before the whirlwind of the meeting begins.
  • Tune in. Turn off your cell phone. Turn on your focus. Takes notes on how you can help others.
  • Your turn to speak – differentiate. Client stories are more memorable and compelling than a punch list of your services.  Tell a recent client story that underscores what you do well.
  • “How you can help me” – When it’s your turn to speak, include key phrases to listen for, the specific niche and demographic of your best prospects, best referral sources for you, the best way to introduce you.
  • Be genuine. Don’t overstate your capabilities. Don’t overpromise next steps.
  • Be a connecter – Be the reference desk.  Every connection has a ripple effect. Ripples lead to waves.
  • Keep your antenna up? Look for opportunities for others. Listen for “hot buttons” for your colleagues.
  • Recruit members to strengthen the group – Who could add more energy and introductions to the group? Who do you know that seems to be everywhere, knows everyone? Encourage them to check out the group.
  • One on One meetings – Try to meet with each member of the group to create a more personal link and to better understand their business. Prepare for this meeting. See if you can bring one introduction to the meeting.
  • Make it a “Rolodex” meeting. Bring your smartphone, laptop or tablet with your personal database information – conversation may lead to an immediate introduction.
  • Follow up, follow through. Respond to introductions within 3 working days. Show a sense of urgency and sincere interest.
  • Keep in touch. Make sure all group members are on your e-newsletter list, Holiday list, business event/seminar list, etc.