What is Networking?

So…exactly what is networking? There are many different definitions, but ultimately it’s about connecting – meeting, exchanging information and ideas, and staying connected. Dictionary.com defines networking as “Creating a group of acquaintances and associates and keeping it active through regular communication for mutual benefit. Networking is based on the question “How can I help?” and not “What can I get?”

Here are 5 reminders for effective networking:

Before you go, get very clear:
1. What is your networking goal?
2. Prepare a 7-9 second self-introduction…keyed to the event.
During the event:
3. Look people in the eye and make them feel comfortable from the very first meeting.
4. Ask questions and listen intently, rather than scanning the room for someone more important to talk to or checking a Blackberry for incoming messages.
After the event:
5. Stay in touch with people – especially when you need nothing from them.

Over the next few blogs we will explore different recommendations for working the networking muscle for givers gain.

For now, would you help the Women’s Business Development Center plan networking events that work for you?  We are planning a series of events called “Connection Points: Networking with…” targeted to women in like industries and professions. We plan to offer these in conjunction with existing professional and trade associations. Please click here to take a 1 minute survey to help us serve you better with this series.

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