What dynamite daily activity can balance your business, build referrals, and boost your income?  Networking!  Check out my lucky 7 secrets to networking success:

1.  Build Your brand

Effectively networking with others starts with knowing how to sell yourself, which I break down into 3 parts.

1.  Get a name badge
2.  Invest in professional business cards
3.  Prepare your 7-9 second elevator speech

The name badge will get the conversation started and help people remember who you are. Then, when someone asks what you do, you can whip out your snazzy business card without fumbling over what to say.  That’s why your 7-9 second speech is for, hooking your listener so they’ll have a reason to keep your card–and, hopefully, use it.

2. Smile + style = success

They say you’re never fully dressed without a smile.  A bright, genuine smile attracts people and lets them know you are open for connection.  Accessorize your grin with what you wear.  The styles and colors you choose communicate how professional, personable, and playful you are. Craft your image wisely and make sure you match your body language to your style choices.

3. Host the party

You have to act like the host to get the most. When you’re at an event, don’t sit in the corner waiting for people to come to you. Adopt a party host’s attitude.  Get up and greet people as they arrive. Help introduce, direct people and answer questions.

4. Play the name game

There’s no shame in forgetting a name. I hate it when I forget someone’s name, but I’m human and I meet hundreds of new people a month–sometimes every week.  When you’re introduced to someone new, ask for a business card. If you’re unsure about a contact’s name, don’t be afraid to have a third party remind you before you initiate a conversation. My favorite way to dodge an uncomfortable situation when I’m fuzzy on someone’s name is to introduce them to a third party and let the two people say their names in front of you.

5. Make an exchange

Networking is all about give and take.  Receive business cards with enthusiasm and take a few seconds to identify something that grabs your attention about the card you’ve been handed.  Pocketing a card without reading it over can feel like a slap in the face.  Then, when you’re presenting your card in exchange, add an extra–one is to keep and one is to give away as a referral.

6. Listen and glisten

There’s no better way to leave a lasting impression on someone than to give them an opportunity to shine–to glisten.  In other words, it’s not all about you.  Ask open ended questions and encourage the other person to talk about their business, their family, their children, their pet, their vacation, their struggles, their dreams. You won’t just make a new contact, you’ll make a new friend.

7.  Follow up

You have to touch base to stay in the game.  Following up with a card, an email, or a quick call is an extra touch that will sear you into your contact’s mind like a steak on a hot grill.  This follow up may just turn into a phone conversation, a business lunch, or  an opportunity to make big money.

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