Opportunities abound for networking. Many people limit their networking to online social media or trade events. But everyday experiences lend themselves to networking as well. Here’s how to network everywhere you go.
Bring Your Business Cards Everywhere
Business cards are still a great way to trade contact information and inform others as to your business. Bring your business cards to the gym, your kid’s baseball game and the dry cleaners. Wherever there’s a chance that you’ll encounter another person, you should have a business card on you. Don’t forget to leave some in your car, too, for chance encounters while you travel.
The first step in networking is to strike up a conversation. All conversations can lead to a networking opportunity. You never know what your business might have in common with another person’s business, who you encounter on the subway, at the grocery store or at the dog park. The more outgoing you are and talkative, the more chances you’ll have to expand your business network.
People like it when others show an interest in them. Ask a lot of questions to help bring people out of their shells. When you do this, there’s a great chance that their business will come up in the conversation. If not, you can always ask what they do for a living once you’ve established a rapport with them.
Look for Commonalities
One of the easiest ways to bring people into your network is to look for commonalities. Maybe this new person drives the same car or has kids at the same school as yours. You can also look for commonalities among your other connections. Remember that networking is also about bringing other people together. A helpful introduction will always be appreciated.
Networking doesn’t have to be confined to official events. When you change the way you think about networking, you can see that it can be done everywhere you go.