CompanyTop 5 List: How to Network Like a Pro

Laura Siderman, Founder & President of Gypswing MediaWe’ve all been to networking events, some of us more than others, but how often do YOU make solid connections? If the answer is “not very often”, you may need to reassess your follow up skills. As the president of Gypsywing I spend quite a bit of time networking and have discovered 5 key elements to getting results from attending networking events.

1. Contact Information and Background Research
“But they didn’t have a business card” … SO WHAT!

Doesn’t matter. Make a note in your phone with all names and businesses of contacts you make if they do not have a card. You will most likely forget if you don’t make a note. Later you can google and find loads of information that you can then use in a “nice to meet you” email. If you can’t find an email, send them a facebook friend request and include a quick note, or use the LinkedIn “add to network” along with a little note.

2. Building Trust through Multiple Contacts
1, 2, 3 – Quick and Easy Online Communication Builds Trust
In the current age of social media madness, it is easier than ever to follow up with contacts, and you will find that as you make a 2nd and 3rd connection (1-at the event, 2- you reach out online, 3-you reply to their response), you’ve developed a relationship and the beginning of trust between you and the individual.

3. Avoid the Big No-No: Ultra Casual Email Communication
My Three Favorite Words: “Dear” and “Best Regards”
In the online communication world, it becomes very easy to treat all contact informally – DON’T. Miscommunication is a huge issue, and tone can easily be misinterpreted. By opening with “Dear” and closing with “Best Regards” it is difficult for your email to be taken as disrespectful, overly casual, or unprofessional.

4. No One Cares About You – You Need to Care About THEM
Show Your Interest in What Matters to Them
To solidify the contact, use some info “googled” up online. You definitely don’t want to be creepy and make personal comments, but something that relates to the type of work they do, their specific industry, or their accomplishments will keep the message professional and show you are serious and interested in their work.

5. Know When to Leave it Alone
Respond to Their Response, But Be Brief
When they respond, and they usually will, don’t send back another lengthy email. Keep it short, thank them and let them know you look forward to speaking with them again in the future (that is, unless they’ve specifically requested more information or a future meeting).

You’ve Planted the Seed – Now Continue Gardening
I continue to be amazed by the number of contacts that will connect with me many months after an initial contact when I follow this formula. By creating a real and meaningful connection, you’ve established a trustworthy place within the individual’s mind. They WILL contact you in the future when or if they need a product or service related to your business.

Lolo Siderman received her degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of business in 2010, after graduating from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh with a degree in graphic design. She has successfully started and either managed or co-managed four companies in a variety of industries, such as design, real estate services, and sports training.

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