How many opportunities do you lose each day because you don’t see the networking opportunities that exist and even when you do see the opportunities, you aren’t prepared for them?
Some of these opportunities should be quite obvious. For example, joining the local chamber of commerce or joining the local Rotary organization or something similar. Usually, you will find like minded individuals in these groups. While some might schedule specific networking opportunities, the reality is every opportunity is a networking opportunity.
Other opportunities would be any type of meeting of people of similar interests. Regardless of what profession you are in or want to be in, or what your your interests might be, there is always a chance of networking. You might be a nurse who attends dance classes as a hobby. Realize there might be other nurses there, or possibly hospital administrators who also like to dance. Be willing to interact with others and see what possibilities might exist.
Just because a networking opportunity exists doesn’t mean you should be the “obnoxious networker” who always talks about their job and what they want to do. You can accomplish more being an accomplished listener than you will ever accomplish as a big time promoter of yourself.
One thing to consider is making sure you have the proper tools available. Make sure you always have some business cards available. It’s quite unfortunate when you meet someone that can help further your career (or maybe whom you could help) and when they ask you if you have a business card you mumble about not having them with you. You can still give them your name and contact information but chances are, you will never hear from them again. If you have your own web site, make sure the address is on your card. Include your name, phone number, mailing address and email address and make sure you have them available at all times.
Most of the business opportunities I have experienced came from unexpected places. Whether it’s from the parent of someone I coached in soccer or someone I met while hiking. Look at every opportunity as a potential networking opportunity and see how many new possibilities come your way
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Have a great day!