5 Tips to Start Networking Today
1. Find an event to attend.
It has never been easier to find a networking event. Begin by searching Meetup, Plancast, Eventbrite, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
2. Get business cards.
Be sure to have plenty of great business cards on hand. Don't be "that guy" throwing cards around the room.
Be ready to have them available if someone should ask. You can visit a local print shop or business center to print a few today. I found some good Photoshop business card templates on Vandelay Design's site. If you want to create some cheap cards, you can find some directions on eHow.
3. Practice your pitch.
Take some time to rehearse your 10 and 30 second pitch. Nobody wants to hear your life story (at first). It's good to be prepared to tell people who you are and what you do. How did you find out about this networking event?
Listen to the people that you meet. Ask questions and don't interrupt their answers. Repeat their names when you respond to help remember their names.
Here are some tips about listening. A bonus tip is to bring a pen. Take notes on the backs of business cards to remember to follow up later. Follow up by considering how you can help the person you met.
5. Don't be shy.
Remember that everyone is nervous meeting new people. It's not just you. Be the first to approach people and introduce yourself. You may feel alone, but you aren't.
Let me know how it goes.
Do you have tips to add? Please leave your tip in the comments.
Photo from Flickr by: hulikal