Networking is a marketing tool that can open up a world of opportunities for women at any stage of their business. It’s a great way to establish lasting relationships and build an entire network of support. Your connections can be the bridge to growth as an individual and as an entrepreneur.
Different types of networking for different people
Networking might look different for everyone. The way someone networks can depend on things like personality type, business type, or specific goals, etc. There are people who prefer to let someone else lead the conversation while they listen, others who jump in and ask all the questions, while some like to talk to multiple people at once and others prefer to connect one-on-one. Make it a point to learn what works best for you when it comes to networking so you can grow your connections in the way that makes the most sense for you and your business.
While there isn’t one right way to build a network or connect with others, there are some universal do’s and don’ts to consider for your networking strategy.
Dress the part
When you show up to a networking event, take the dress code into consideration. If it’s a professional event, consider business attire.
Bring a (digital) business card
While business cards may seem like a dated concept, having your contact info easily accessible to share with others is an important part of networking. A digital business card is a modern way to share your information that can help keep you and your connections more organized.
Make a good first impression
First impressions are lasting impressions. When you’re making new connections, remember to put your best and most positive foot forward.
Remember it isn’t about numbers
Quality trumps quantity when it comes to networking. A small network made up of a few strong professional relationships is better than a large network without meaningful connections.
Arguably one of the most important parts of networking, you should always reach out to any new connections after you meet. Remind them of who you are and where you met!
Forget to network in person
Your LinkedIn profile is a valuable tool to connect with people in your network but it’s important to remember that in-person connection is essential to a healthy networking strategy.
Make it all about you
In addition to sharing about yourself and your business, don’t forget to ask questions, listen, and learn about others. You want it to feel like a conversation, not a sales pitch.
Negative talk about your company, coworkers, someone you used to work with, or just a general poor outlook can make a bad first impression for a potential connection.
Ask only the standard questions
Get creative with your conversations and ask more outside-of-the-box questions. Think about the people you want to connect with and what you’d like to learn from them.
Forget to follow up
Following up is so important that it’s listed twice. Keep the conversation going with new questions and conversation topics to grow your relationships with your new connections. They’re more likely to remember you if you make it a point to follow up!
Valley’s Women in Business Program is a great resource for women-owned businesses looking to expand their network, connect with others in or out of their industry and take advantage of unique program perks. Learn more about our program that fosters collaboration and connection.