Chamber of commerce, or other business functions, and social events, are excellent sources of networking if used correctly.
Follow these 10 tips for successful networking:
1. Adjust your attitude. Realize that the purpose of attending this function is to work and build your network.
2. Work the crowd. Be pleasant and approachable.
3. Prepare a quick 30 second introductory “elevator” speech to help others understand what you do for patients and how your services benefit others.
4. Introduce yourself to someone new. If possible have that person be a center-of-influence person or someone who is in a complementary profession. Look for cross-promotion opportunities.
5. After the introduction, invest 99.9% of your time asking the other person about their business. Refrain from talking about you or your business.
6. Ask for their business card. (Never attend a function without your business cards)
7. Introduce this person to other people you know at the function.
8. Follow up with a “nice to meet you email”
9. Follow-up regularly with articles or information relevant to their business or your shared business concerns.
10. Give referrals to others.
Keep in mind networking is first about what you can do for someone else, not what they can do for you. If you help others, you will receive help in return, it may not be an immediate payback but it will come with time.
Always remember people find it irresistible when you recognize them and know their name (not just their teeth or dental challenges). This quote says it all:
We are all so vain that we love to have our names remembered by those who have met us but once. We exaggerate the talents and virtues of those who can do this, and we are ready to repay their powers with lifelong devotion. The ability to associate in the mind names and faces is a tremendous asset to a politician, and it will prolong the pastorate of any clergyman. William Lyons Phelps