Great networking means creating relationships that will last your entire career. To that end, networking expert James Nelson of Massey Knakal Realty Services in New York has a few suggestions:
1. Get to know two to three people well
at industry events instead of merely fattening your stack of business cards by talking to everybody. Find shared personal interests to create a stronger bond.
Related: 8 Ways to Be a More Confident Person
2. Fly solo at events.
Converse with folks you haven’t met. Tips: Walk up to someone you know who’s speaking to people you don’t know and become part of their conversation, or sit by strangers at meals.
3. Run a group.
Help run a trade association or networking group. You’ll get to know the stakeholders well, and they’ll introduce you to others.
4. Speak on a panel.
Become a thought leader and an expert in your field. Offer to speak at trade association events (some are “pay to play” but might still be wise investments).
5. Use social media.
If you produce quality content about your expertise via a blog, LinkedIn, Facebook, an e-newsletter or video, the content can serve as an icebreaker with others.
6. Keep a Top 100 list.
A tip from sales coach Rod Santomassimo of the Massimo Group: List the top people in various fields in your industry whom you want to get to know and then regularly reach out to them. Some will be clients; others could lead you to clients.
7. Follow up.
Share a meal or coffee with someone you’ve just met to deepen the relationship.