I know you may find this surprising since I am always chatting about connecting on the Internet, but I am a big believer in face-to-face networking. In fact, if you spend all your time being social on social media, it is my belief that you will get nowhere fast. The main idea behind using social media for business is to convert your connections into real time engagement as in pipeline, networking, collaboration.
Lately, I have been putting my money where my mouth is and getting out and networking. It has been both fun and rewarding for me. I met a few key business people and engaged on a number of consulting projects as a result of live networking. I am not saying that a few of these budding relationships did not sprout on social media, but they did take meeting in person to bloom.
You see social media is like the match.com of networking. Nothing can happen if you just keep looking at profiles online, you must get out there an meet.
So I say to you…Get out and Network! Find ONE event in your area that you can attend and take the plunge.
However, avoid a few dating, I mean networking pitfalls.
- Do not expect to go back to ‘your place’ later. Bring what you need to the event. Make sure to have business cards and any other promotional items about your business with you because this is your chance to connect. Save an office visit for the 2nd or 3rd date.
- Stay clear – headed. Many evening networking events happen over happy hour or cocktails. Be smart and stay on top of your game with a clear head. Beer Goggles can be just as BAD when involved in business decisions.
- Remember to follow up in or around 3 days. No reason to rush right home and write an email or add all your new contacts to your newsletter (remember that should be opt-in), but do make a point to connect with a few key people that you met within a few days. You still want the meeting to be fresh in their mind. A quick email works great!
Here is to you finding the connection of your dreams. Happy Networking.