Check the Chamber’s calendar and you will see there are many “networking” opportunities every month.
What can be a valuable use of time, networking or “pitching” can also go south if your delivery is all about “you.” Here are some thoughts about how to take full advantage of the people you meet.
- Perfect your 30 second “Elevator Speech.” Practice it until you know you have a focused message. Smile and look your subject in the eyes. Show enthusiasm. Once you have this down, DISCONTINUE USING the 30 second commercial! Now you can quickly and effectively deliver your message but you don’t need to sound like a robot. Remember, the person you have just met is there to sell you something too.
- Listen, Listen, Listen. Make sure you give your counterpart a chance to get comfortable with you. Let them go first. Establish common ground. Ask questions that offer them a chance to shine and when telling their own story. The result will astound you. Have FUN!
- Introduce them to someone you know in the room.
- Make sure they get your business card and by all means, insist you accept theirs.
There are many groups in our area that focus on networking. We are happy to direct you to those groups. Some of the most popular are:
BNI – The Business Network International’s purpose is to help businesses, large and small, grow their business and make more money. The Lafayette BNI group meets on Wednesdays, 7:00AM at the Lafayette Veterans Memorial Center, 3780 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette. Phone: 925-283-1153. There are another dozen BNI groups within a 10 – mile radius.
B2B – Similar program to BNI. Group setting generating referrals. At this time the closest B2B group is in Danville.
Meetup.com – you can find dozens of networking groups on meetup.