04/14/2015 04:11 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Top Networking Dos & Don'ts

Networking is like being your own personal billboard! I'm not suggesting you find a crazy outfit and stand on the side of the road with a sign (but if you do that I'd love to get a photo).

But, it's about you building relationships and talking about what you do. It's great for building business contacts, finding new clients, making connections in your industry and promoting your business.

It's a great marketing tool for businesses with a tight budget. Networking events give you direct access to a room full of influential people in your industry.

Simply by talking to these people you are essentially advertising to potential customers.

Here are my top networking dos & don'ts:

  • Have a descriptive 'personal brand statement' prepared.
  • Have loads of business cards, however use them with respect.
  • Make a goal of handing out (say) 5 cards or at least have genuine conversations with 5 people.
  • Go up and introduce yourself to people and start conversations with them.
  • Keep moving around the room; don't just speak to one person.
  • Write the date and event on business cards you collect so you can remember when and where you met people.
  • Go with your friend or you will spend time catching up rather than meeting other people.
  • Stare around the room when you talking with people.
  • Try to do a hard sell; networking is about getting to know people.
  • Say you will follow up with people and not bother.

Networking is one of the most cost-effective ways to increasing profile and acquiring new business and reaching hundreds of potential clients. So get out there and start networking!

Click here to see a SlideShare of Catriona's tips on how to be a great networker!


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