Never Dismiss Anyone
Make it your mission to discover the value in each person you talk to. Ask questions and listen. Don’t make the mistake of discounting people due to their titles. Someone you meet may “just” be an assistant, but they may have valuable connections or knowledge you’d never learn about if you’d dismissed them.
Connect the Dots
Once you begin to listen to people and learn what they can bring to the table, you’ll start realizing how one person in the room may be able to help another. Make it a point to connect people you feel have something of genuine value to give each other. When you go out of your way to make potentially promising connections, you’re doing your part to make the networking event a success.
Before any conversation comes to a close, be sure to ask, “How can I help you?” Because it’s done so rarely, you may encounter a surprised look, but it will most likely be accompanied by an appreciative smile. While the person may not have an answer for you that night, they may have an idea later. Always close by saying something like, “If you need anything, please reach out to me or connect via LinkedIn” and present your business card.
Follow Up and Follow Through
If you told someone you’d get in touch with them, do it and reaffirm your intent to assist in any way you can. If you promised to introduce someone to a person you know, take the time to do it. Everyone is busy these days — even so, it takes no more than a minute to shoot off an email to introduce two people you want to connect. They can take it from there and do the work — just enjoy being the bridge.
When you believe that the true value of networking lies in helping others and you do your part, you’ll soon discover magic happening all around you. The beauty of this approach is that you never know when that magic may cast its spell on you.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Andrew Vest is an entrepreneur to his core. He’s a natural businessman who’s passionate about creating Strategic Partnerships, Consulting around Cloud Solutions and overall being a Connector within his network. Currently, Andrew is Director of Business Development for Redapts Applications Modernization & Cloud services. Connect with @andrewvest on Twitter.
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