5 Tips for Effective Networking

We know how essential networking events are for entrepreneurs and jobseekers alike, and Inc. recently published five strategies power networkers use, as curated by Karl Stark and Bill Stewart of strategic advisory firm Avondale. Add these tips to your arsenal to ensure your networking efforts are as effective as possible.

  1. Research and prepare. Is the event interesting to you? Is it relevant to your industry or area of expertise? Who is attending, and how can these individuals help your cause? Let your social graph know that you're attending to turn Facebook and Twitter "friends" into real-life ones.
  2. Leave room for spur-of-the-moment connections. "Maintaining an open mind -- and an open schedule -- has led to significant opportunities for our firm that we might not have even had on our radar a couple of years ago," wrote Stark and Stewart.
  3. Practice your elevator speech. You know you'll be asked what you have to offer. Be prepared to articulate your introduction accordingly.
  4. Look to collaborate. Stark and Stewart recommend that you actively listen and ask on-target questions. Focus on helping others, perhaps even setting up people you meet with connections in your network.
  5. Follow up. Not every connection you make will lead to an immediate business opportunity, but that may not be the case in the future. Follow up with the people you meet to keep the lines of communication open.

What networking tips would you add to the ones above?

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