Personal networking is one of the most effective ways to promote yourself and your business. To do it well you have to get out of the office on a regular basis and devote time to it. A good plan would be to spend at least one day and one evening a week in networking activities. Here are a few ideas that work for most people:
1. Collect business cards of others, distribute yours. Don't
be stingy with your business cards. Pass them out whenever you get the chance,
including in your outgoing mail. Give quantities of your cards to friends and
business associates whom might be making referrals.
2. Write notes on the back of each business card you collect. Remind yourself where and when you met the person and what you want to remember about him or her.
Add this information to your contact
3. Keep your telephone and mailing lists up to date, at least
on a weekly basis. Use a computerized contact management system to keep track of
your contacts and personal information.
4. Read the trade publications of your industry. Monitor job
placement in your industry. Who are the names in the news?
5. Read your local newspaper religiously, especially the
business section. Watch for people you know or should know, and update your
contact management system accordingly.
6. Send clippings of interest from newspapers and magazines, with notes, to your
clients, prospects, and contacts. Let them know you care.
7. Stay in regular touch with your clients, prospects, and contacts. If you can't telephone them all, send them a post card.
8. Write personal notes to colleagues, customers and prospects who have achieved recognition. Use personalized hand-written note cards, not computerized, typed or E-mail messages.
9. Try to attend at least one trade or professional conference every year. Meet as many new people as you can.
10. Become active in at least one civic or professional organization. Attend regularly, accept a task or responsibility and carry it out, volunteer to chair a committee, or run for a higher office.
11. When you attend a large meeting for the first time, make
sure you introduce yourself to as many people as your comfort level will allow.
Don't talk to the same person for the entire meeting. If necessary, introduce
the person with whom you've been talking to someone else. Don't be hesitant to
let someone know it's your "first time". Ask someone to introduce you around.
12. Have lunch with colleagues outside your company at least
once a month. Try to find a business mentor outside your company who will meet
with you on a regular basis.
13. Make friends with the "upper management" in your company.
Make sure they know and respect you for what "they" and "we" are accomplishing
as a team.
14. If your company has a newsletter, make sure you know the
editor. From time to time offer to write an article of general interest to the
newsletter readership. Offer to write articles for local newspapers and
associations on subjects where you have special expertise or interest.
15. Refer people you know personally or do business with to
others. When they do a good job, you are also remembered and referred.
16. Listen when people are talking to you about their
business. Be a mentor and confidant. Be willing to offer help or advice, even to
a competitor. Your good turns will be returned in various ways.
17. When something good happens to you, issue a press release
to the local press. If your release is accepted, be sure to follow up with a
thank you note.
18. Offer to speak or participate in seminars presented by your profession or civic
organization. Stick to subjects which you can use to portray present yourself as an
19. Publish a book, pamphlet or "white paper" on a subject of
interest to your clients and prospects. Do it in such a way that you can
distribute it freely.
20. Subscribe to an Internet mail list or newsgroup related to your business. Participate by asking and answering questions in your areas of expertise. Always use a well-conceived "signature" at the bottom of your posts and E-mail messages.