Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Networking is the number one unwritten rule of success in business. While some people are naturals at it, others understandably struggle.
The Cape Chamber recognizes the importance of offering networking opportunities for our members to establish and strengthen relationships. Every month we have two foundational events* that are both free to our membership and recognized as tremendous networking gatherings.
But once you’ve arrived, how do you make a good and lasting impression?
1. Aim to build genuine personal connections.
Avoid dominating the conversation talking about yourself and your business. People want to feel that you are genuinely interested in them. Ask questions to get to know the other person and understand what they do.
2. Listen when you join a conversation, then show you were listening.
Take a few minutes to listen to the conversation when joining a group of people. An effective way to make a good first impression is to join a conversation with a comment that shows you were listening to the current group of people. Acknowledge a key point to add to the conversation rather than refocusing on you and your work.
3. Be yourself, and don’t try to sell.
When speaking about your business, make an effort to share, not sell. When you approach networking events looking to build relationships, personal connections develop and potential business opportunities often present themselves.
4. Come prepared.
The best first impressions are often the ones that appear effortless. Taking time to prepare a few questions that will help you learn about others will create an interesting conversation, leaving a lasting impression.
5. Follow up.
Whether by email, text or phone call, be sure to follow up within 48 hours of making the connection. While a “nice to meet you” is nice, try to come up with something more specific, relating back to your previous conversation. Sharing an article you think would be of use to them is always a great start.
Certainly, you would rather do business with someone you know and trust. Regular attendance at Chamber functions helps you build relationships and can keep you and your business top-of-mind for hundreds of Chamber members.
*First Friday Coffee is held on the first Friday of each month at the Isle Casino Cape Girardeau Event Center. The doors open at 7 a.m. and breakfast, coffee and juice are served. A timely and relevant program begins around 7:40, and we are out by 8:30. The attendance runs between 275 to 320 people.
Business After Hours is held the third Tuesday of each month at various locations. Starting time is 5 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres, soft drinks and a cash bar. Monthly attendance for this event varies between 80 to 125 people.
We have many other networking opportunities, including the Women’s Network, Chamber Young Professionals, Business Builders Exchange, Grow Strong and our standing committee structure. Learn more at www.capechamber.com/programs.