If one of your goals for the new year is to meet new people while maintaining your existing network, here are some tips.

  1. Be genuine:  People want to get a sense of who you really are.
  2. Focus on image: When you look good, you’ll feel good and appear more confident.
  3. Ask questions: People LOVE to talk about themselves.
  4. SMILE and make eye contact: It shows that you’re present.
  5. Don’t be afraid to go alone:  Bringing someone else can be a crutch and prevent you from connecting with new people.
  6. Always carry business cards:  You never know who you’ll meet, even when you’re not at a networking event.
  7. Be a connector:  Connect people who you think will benefit from knowing one another.
  8. Know when to gracefully exit the conversation: Not everyone you meet is going to provide value to your network. The following is a polite and honest exit line – “It’s been great chatting with you.  I’m going to mingle with some of the other attendees, but here’s my card and do keep in touch.
  9. Ask for new contacts:  Periodically ask people in your network for new contacts.  Be specific as to who you’re looking to connect with.
  10. Follow up:  When you meet people follow up with an email and connect on social media.  Make an effort to connect one-on-one with new and existing contacts in your network.
  11. Network online AND offline: Use social media platforms like LinkedIn to meet new people.

Networking takes time, focus and energy, but it pays off.   Make this year your best year ever!

This educational moment comes from Michele Swetesich-Leon / Marketing Links.