Networking Tip: If you follow this tip it will make your networking life extremely easy. In my opinion, networking is all about the next step in the process. My friend Patty Farmer of Patty Farmer International, calls it NEXTworking.
The quickest way I know to plug someone into my network is to ALWAYS be INVITING. Whether you are inviting someone to a 1-on-1 over coffee, a luncheon, a ribbon cutting event, an opportunity presentation, a training, a seminar, a spa party, a jewelry party, or a cocktail party the informed networker will have the information ready to pass along in case of that “chance” encounter. The key to this is preparation. Whenever I go into a networking event, I always check my calendar to see when I have an opening for a 1-on-1 meeting in case I meet someone I want to get to know better. If I have an upcoming talk I’m going to give at a local networking event, I have that information ready to pass along to someone I think would benefit from hearing the information. If I’m going to give a seminar on a financial services topic and I meet someone who fits my “Ideal” client model, I have the flyer or e-mail on hand ready to go so I can invite on the spot. (I don’t just randomly hand out flyers–not cool!) You can elevate that invitation by finding someone in your network who is having a seminar or other type of event an invite people to join you there. Why? Because now you are not only setting up your next meeting with that person, but benefiting another’s business by bringing and introducing others to their business.
Inviting is an art unto itself. Be brief, be brilliant, and be gone, but get the contact information first so you can follow-up.