How To Network Like A Personal Branding SuperstarWhile many gains can be made through networking online, when you are building your personal brand, you can’t ignore the benefits of offline networking. Many entrepreneurs and professionals, though, avoid offline networking because it seems disingenuous.  If you know how to network like a personal branding superstar, however, you’ll find offline networking to be more profitable and enjoyable for you.

Here are five tips on how to network like a superstar:

#1: Find the right networking events

Research the best networking events and conferences for your field. You want to “fish where the fish are” so be sure to select events that attract your ideal customers or employers. Once you have selected the events you want to participate in, attend on a consistent basis. The more you attend, the more profitable the experience will be for you.

Also, don’t ignore opportunities to network outside of the professional realm. Joining a local running club, volunteering at an animal shelter or working the concession stand at your child’s soccer game can all be networking opportunities. Be on the lookout for a chance to network, even if it’s not at a professional networking event.

#2: Dress for success

This tip should be a “no brainer,” but it’s a good reminder nonetheless. When attending networking events, be sure to dress for success. How you appear is your first impression, so make it an outstanding one.

#3: Exchange business cards

Always carry business cards with you. When you’re heading to a networking event, bring plenty of cards. Make sure your business cards are readily available (at conferences, many attendees will stick business cards in their ID badges for easy retrieval).

When you get another person’s business card, write on it so you can remember who this person is later. Make notes on how you can help them, what connection you want to make with them and if you can send this person your fantastic free gift.

Finally, a day or two after the event, send a personal email or letter to your new connections. Be sure to reinforce how you can serve them.

#4: Memorize your elevator speech

Do not step foot into a networking event without first memorizing your elevator speech. Write out your elevator speech at home and work on it before the event. Your elevator speech should include your name, web address, who you help and what is the result for your customers (or employers). When you deliver your elevator speech, make it as natural as possible, looking your connection in the eye (and don’t forget to smile!).

#5: Strike up conversations

It’s a networking event, right? Here are some tips on how to mix and mingle during the event:

  • Do not mingle near the food. People are focused on eating, and it’s a little hard to juggle a plate full of cheese and crackers when you’re passing out business cards.
  • If you see someone standing alone, approach him. This is a great way to make your first connection.
  • Get people talking about themselves. Listen carefully so you can determine how you can be of service to this person.
  • Be a person who bridges people together. If you just met a real estate agent and the person you are speaking with might be moving to the area, introduce the two. You’ll be remembered for your generosity.
  • Always look for opportunities to share your fantastic free gift with others. If you think it can be of benefit to a person, say “I have a free ebook that I think would help you. May I have your card? I will email it to you tomorrow so you can take a look.” (Make sure to write on the person’s card so you remember to send the free gift.)

When you find the right events and prepare for networking, you will find that offline networking can be fun and effective for your personal branding efforts. Foster each connection you make, even if it’s not obvious how you can benefit from the connection. You never know how that relationship can prosper over time.

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