As a business person, you are always networking. Whether you are shopping at the grocery store or attending a networking event, you should always be prepared to discuss a little about yourself and your business.
How many of you always have business cards on you? If you do, that’s great. If you don’t, you should always carry business cards. And I mean always! This means you carry your business cards while you’re out to dinner with family and friends, attending a party, watching your kids play soccer, and without a doubt, when you’re at a business function of any kind. Never leave home without them.
Networking can be daunting for some people but all you need to remember when you see networking opportunities arise is it’s a great chance for “telling my story”. You aren’t selling, you aren’t changing the world, all you are doing is telling your story and there is nobody better to tell your story, than you. Share who you are, what you do, and why do you do it. Make it personal, light, and informative and you will win! Every time.
If you are so focused on the business aspect you will come off cold and robotic instead of being warm and genuine. Be light and friendly; thinking of it as making a connection. Give a business card and ask for one.
Some of the best connections I have made have been when I have least expected it – at a bar with friends, at church, on vacation, and even sitting next to someone on a plane. There are people everywhere that can help you achieve your goals if you are willing to tell them a little about yourself and your goals. Don’t ever be afraid to speak up and talk to someone, tell your story, and be friendly. You will be amazed at how easily connections can be made when you’re just being yourself.