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Networking is an art and it takes time to learn

When you go to your very first business networking meeting, you have no clue what they will expect of you and what you should bring or do. Do you remember your first meeting? Were you prepared? First and foremost, prepare a 60 second commercial about you and your business.

What is a good 60 second intro?

First try to get their attention. Even before you say your name, say something funny or interesting. Be positive. Clearly say the name of your business, your name and what you do. Also mention who your ideal customer is and what kind of referrals you would like to receive. Be exited and talk loud enough for everyone in the room to hear you. And repeat your name and the business name at the end of your speech.

What do you need to bring?

Business cards, lots of them! Plus a pen to make notes on the back of the business cards you receive. Just write down the date, the event and something about the person to make it easier for you to remember later on who and where you got the card.

If you are really nervous about going to a networking event, find a friend or business acquaintance to go with you. Or find someone who is a member of the group or has been to a particular event before and can introduce you to people.

When you visit events where you do not know anyone, go with the intention to have fun and meet good people. Instead of standing in a corner waiting for people to find you, walk up to an individual or a group, offer your hand, and say, “Hi, I’m [your name]”. Meet as many people as possible.

Follow up with the people you meet

Write an email saying how nice it was to meet them and mention something from your conversation. When you get home after the event, the first thing to do is to sort through the business cards you collected and decide who you want to stay in touch with. Enter those people into your contact management system.

And remember, practice makes perfect.

Tip: Wear your name tag on your right side. That way, people easily see it when they shake your hand. Hold your drink in your left hand, so you're ready to shake with your right.

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About the Author

Yvonne Bisk, Long Island Entrepreneurs Meetup Group
Levittown, NY 11756

If you would like to re-print this article, please contact the author.
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