- Apr 18, 2019
- north shore networking
by David Telisman, David Telisman Communications
I’ll never forget my initial First Friday experience two years ago. Sometime after I delivered a nervous, voice-cracking elevator pitch, I remember Dan Gelfond saying, “People will do business with those they like, know, and trust.” Though I was incredibly green and networking-intolerant at the time, Chamber members offered the support I needed to change my outlook.
Before joining the Chamber, I viewed networking through a muddied lens. I thought that you networked because you needed a new job, and I felt like I was imposing and bothering people. Thankfully, I’ve learned that successful networking really is cultivating relationships and being a giver. The results are invaluable: you build trust and respect, and business opportunities grow from there.
How do you get started? To quote Bob Caldwell, “Show up.” Those two simple words are vital to developing your networking muscle. Show up to as many events as you can, and get involved on the planning committees for the Annual Golf Outing & Dinner or the Taste & Auction. The more present you are, the more people will remember you.
When you meet someone during these events, make the effort to learn about their business and story. Ask questions: Who is your ideal client? Who are people with whom you want to connect? Never end a networking conversation without asking how you can help.
Consistently following up with people is key to establishing your networking sea legs. I learned to set calendar reminders to touch base with my network. Utilize whatever system works best for you–whether it’s Outlook, Google Calendar, or a CRM–to track your networking activity. Schedule follow-up meetings each quarter, and look for ways to connect people to each other.
In conclusion, show up, give, and build relationships. Fill up the time you’re not spending on client projects with networking appointments, and be sure to stay in touch with the good folks in your network.