Networking is a great way to get your business known in the local community, but there are some things to avoid as well.
Do: Dress for success. Even if you are a contractor, don’t go to a networking event with pitch on your hands and dirty, wrinkled clothes. Dress professionally. You don’t have to wear a 3-piece suit or formal dress, but wear clean, pressed clothes.
Don’t: Say you are nervous. Everyone already knows you are nervous if you are new, no need to say it. And, chances are, if you don’t say it nobody will notice that you are.
Do: Have your elevator pitch ready. The elevator pitch is a 30-60 second pitch on what you do. Not who you are. Nobody cares who you are until they know what you do.
Don’t: Be a wall flower. This is tough for introverts. But, shake hands and do that small talk you dislike. Practice small talk before you get there and think of 4-5 things you can talk about. One hint: Look at the clothing of the other person. If you find something unusual, like earrings or silly socks, mention it. They will probably be happy to talk about it.
Do: Bring a lot of business cards. If 20 people are expected at the event, bring 40 business cards. And bring professional business cards. Keep cards in your vehicle also in case you forget to bring some.