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5 Tips to Improve Your Networking Skills

Networking is one of the big ‘it’ words in business these days, but the fact is that the average person only has an idea about what it means but few really know what makes a good networker. In fact, the best networkers are more like rock stars than normal people, and they use their networking skills to get ahead and stay on top, even in a down economy like today.

With that in mind, here are 5 tips that will help you become a better networker and help your business or career. Read closely and use these tips and you’ll find that it’s not nearly as hard as you think to use networking to get ahead.

1- Never leave the house without your business cards. If you go out of the house and you don’t have your cards you may miss opportunities to network that pop up all over the place, like the grocery store, the mall, the post office or a restaurant. Plus, having your cards proves you are serious about what you do.

2- If you’re at an event, don’t spend all of your time talking with just one person (unless they are VERY successful, in which case hang on their every word). Instead walk around and introduce yourself to as many people as possible, strike up short, 5 minute conversations and then move on.

3- Listen.  Many people tend to talk more than they listen, but if you’re looking for people that can help your career you need to know that they can help your career, and you’ll find that out by listening to them.  Of course if they sound like gigantic blowhards then feel free to blab all you want, but don’t waste too much time with them.

4- Practice your 60 second spiel, or what some call an ‘elevator speech’. If you can explain with clarity what you do in 60 seconds you will leave someone with a good impression and your business card.

5- Follow up with new contacts.  If they have anything to offer make sure you follow up. Call, send an email or write a note.  Heck, if they’re important enough send up a smoke signal if you have to, just as long as they don’t forget who you are.

Follow these 5 tips and you’ll soon be the network king, reaping the benefits of the new kingdom you created. Good luck.

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