The Business Networking Toolkit – Cheat Sheet
By Jeffrey DeSocio – AIMC Business Solutions/Mass Professional Networking
I have been networking full-time since 2007 and have been running a successful business networking organization called Mass Professional Networking since 2013 and have recently expanded to the Sunshine State and started the Treasure Coast Florida Professional Networking Group in 2018.
Through the years, I have learned a lot about what works with business networking and what doesn't work. The following is a reference about why professional networking is important today, how to research and prepare for an event, what to do at an event and the importance of follow-up. Enjoy!
Why is Professional Networking Important Today?
- Networking can help you start your own business, climb the career ladder.
- Networking is a long-term investment, leads to lifelong friendships.
- Business people that network are usually great positive influences to be around.
- Increase in confidence as you push yourself to talk & connect with new people.
- Expand you sphere of influence and practice & perfect talking about your business, use this in your marketing.
- You can ask questions at business networking opportunities as a form of market research.
- You will meet people that you don’t normally come across in your everyday life.
PLAN - What to Do before the Networking Event:
- Get your business cards ready
- Eat first, since it is awkward eating food while socializing
- Know your Goals and Purpose
- Understand the Dress Code
- Remember Everyone Is There for the Same Reason
- Get Your LinkedIn Profile Ready to Network – How to Have An All-Star LinkedIn Profile?
- Start with A Professional Profile Picture – Of Course!
- Professional Header With Targeted Keywords
- Concise Summary With Media Links
- Don't Be Shy With Experience for each Job
- Complete Education Section
- Practical Examples & Recommendations
ACTION - What to Do at the Networking Event:
- First, get to the event on-time
- If you are shy, ask the host to help introduce you to people
- When meeting someone, use eye contact and repeat their name
- Ask questions, and do not pitch and/or have a roving eye
- Questions to Ask To Engage in Conversation.
- What is your biggest professional accomplishment and how did you achieve it?
- Who is your favorite business mentor, whether it is a colleague or a celebrity?
- What is your favorite business book, show or podcast?
- What is your biggest challenge in business?
- Who is your perfect client and who can I introduce you to, that will help your business?
- What is your top marketing and networking strategy?
- What social media platform do you use the most to market your business?
- What is your favorite business networking group?
- What other talents do you have? For example, do you play a musical instrument
FOLLOW-UP – What to Do after the Networking Event:
- Send a “Nice To Meet You Email – Personalize it and mention something you chatted about
- Connect on LinkedIn and review profile in anticipation of a follow-up meeting.
- After initial meeting whether on phone or in person, set up your calendar to reconnect
- Remember events such as birthdays and anniversary events for business or career milestones
- Give Give Give First. Be a resource forever for your new connection.
Need more guidance to kick-start your Business Networking? Ask us about the “Networking & Personal Branding Toolkit” by contacting us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also join Mass Professional Networking on LinkedIn and Facebook.