Avoid handing out business cards until you've formally met someone and determine you want to connect.

Avoid handing out business cards until you’ve formally met someone and determine you want to connect.

 

Whether you are new to the networking scene or looking for a different audience, be sure you look into all your local options in joining a trade associations, civic organizations or other professional group.  Too often I see business professionals stay in small networking groups out of a sense of comfort.  Break out of that comfort zone starting tomorrow!

Expanding your networking to different group in your area give you additional opportunities to meet new people as well as gauge the relevancy of your business. Typically, these groups provide educational seminars which are current, issue-oriented and fairly well attended.

Not only are your obtaining valuable information, but you are seen and respected by your peers for taking advantage of these opportunities. They also provide a common thread for discussion later on. As you get more involved, you may be called upon to chair a meeting or serve on a panel. Your credibility certainly jumps ahead at this point.

If you attend and participate in the activities of the organization, you will be visible and almost certainly become well known.  Recognition will cause you to be asked for your opinions. Hopefully, what you say will have meaning, continuity and depth, thereby creating a respect for you and your opinions.

You will be talked about and referred to, thereby making you a known quantity. By being involved, you are learning. By being involved with others, you are learning. By preparing new material, you are learning.

Get it?  Never stop learning!