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While in a networking environment, you can learn a tremendous amount from others. Think of networking as a focus group. Learn how to improve by observing those around you.
2: You Must Always Be Ready.
Networking can’t be forced. Engaging in dialogue with new people requires you to be quick on your feet and ready for responses and reactions to the conversations around you. Be active and ready for engagement. You are either an active networker or not. There is nothing in the middle.
3: Take Notes While You Network.
Be diligent and take note of what you are contributing and how you can improve. I have learned that people take notice when you are taking notes and it opens the door for more spontaneous conversations.
In networking, apply your knowledge in the form of non-traditional questions. Get people to discover something deeper about what you know by asking them a question they wouldn’t expect. A non-traditional question will lead to a lasting impression.
5: Put Your Personal Brand to the Test.
Always be prepared to unleash your identity so that others will remember you. Be careful that you are not overly deliberate or focused solely on self-promotion. When you walk away from the conversation, those around you should know the following about your personal brand:
6: Continue the Conversation.
To get started, send a follow-up email with a link to an article or whitepaper that supports something they were interested in. Or you can expand upon your conversation by sending a presentation that showcases your unique point of view while supporting their ideas and ideals. Reconnect at lunch, invite them to another networking function, or get connected online on your favorite social networking tool. You can also invite them to join your LinkedIn or Facebook group.
7: Hold Yourself Accountable.
Each conversation is an opportunity and only you can gauge it. Being accountable will help you to sustain the momentum that you have built up in the first six steps.