Andrea Nierenberg, a networking success story (so says The Wall Street Journal), regularly presents education sessions on networking and building your brand.
As Nierenberg points out, we’re all networking all the time. Make the most of it by being prepared. Here are six of her foolproof strategies for turning contacts into connections.
1. Create a 20-second introduction with variations depending upon the audience and circumstance. (Think: “How do I make myself memorable in this situation?”)
2. See the potential: It’s not just the person at the top who is going to help you reach your goals. Everyone you meet is a client, prospect, friend, or someone who can introduce you to one.
3. Think about what you can offer—not just what you can get.
4. Create a “small talk” notebook—or just use your iPhone or BlackBerry to jot reminders of current events, industry topics, books, movies. These will help when you need some “conversation continuations.”
5. Everyone has a communication style. Observe others and find ways to match your networking style to theirs.
6. Write a note: The United States Postal Service says only 4 percent of mail is personalized. A handwritten note is a simple way to stand out.
Visit The Nierenberg Group Web site for more ideas, testimonials, and a link to Andrea’s blog. Follow her on Twitter at @anierenberg.
A version of this article originally appeared in MeetingsNet in 2010.