Networking, Building Alliances


The strongest business alliances are based on strong relationships, not transactions.

“I’m terrible at networking.” It seems to be a common whine. But networking gives you what you put into it. Here are some quick tips for building your network:

1. ALWAYS carry business cards. If you don’t have business cards, have some printed online. For under $100 you can have some pretty professional looking business cards through vendors like Overnight Prints.

2. Carry a small notebook. You can jot notes down about new acquaintances. Record these notes into your Rolodex. Suggested notes include how you were introduced, personal details (number of kids, where they’re from), favorite restaurant, etc. These notes come in handy for future meetings.

3. Make yourself visible. Attend industry events, fundraisers, … any type of event where you can introduce yourself.

4. Be friendly. At networking events, people are expecting complete strangers to say “hello.” Walk up, shake the person’s hand and introduce yourself. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the conversation will easily start flowing.

5. Stay connected. Look for reasons to communicate with everyone in your network. I go through my Rolodex monthly and review who’s in there. You don’t have to talk to everyone monthly, but pick a few and start up the conversation again.

6. Refer, refer, refer. Any time you can offer an introduction between two people in your Rolodex, everyone benefits. An email introduction is simple, quick and beneficial for everyone involved. By introducing folks in your Rolodex to each other, you’re keeping the line of communication open and you’re inviting others to refer you as well.

What are your top networking tips?