The Town of Addison is business rich. It is home to a number of corporate headquarters and, with the help of organizations such as the Addison TreeHouse, strives to provide resources to local entrepreneurs. But much of business growth begins with networking, and there’s an art to networking. In order to provide some guidance, the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce offered up some helpful tips on the topic, courtesy of Tom Dennis, VP of Brand Strategy at ExperiPro.
Q: When and where is the appropriate time for networking?
A: Anywhere and anytime! Since true networking isn’t about selling, but more about connecting with people, you should always be on the lookout for great people to add to your network.
Q: What are some key points everyone should know about networking?
A: Having a strong network is extremely valuable for growing a business. The ultimate goal is to gain the trust of those in your network enough for them to refer (and recommend) you to someone they know. That doesn’t happen immediately, so don’t expect results right out of the gate. Invest time and energy into your network and it will pay off. Better yet, volunteer for a committee or non-profit board so your network can see you in action.
Q: How should individuals approach networking?
A: Know how to tell your story (there is nothing worse than talking with someone for 10 minutes and still not knowing what it is they do!). Keep it short and concise – to under 30 seconds! Also, don’t dominate the conversation – a big part of communicating is listening. Finally, after talking with someone, ask yourself, “How did that go? Did I present myself well; do they ever want to talk to me again?”
What type of information should individuals be seeking when networking?
The most important thing to ask is, “How can I help you; is there someone I can connect you with?” People are more likely to want to stay in touch if they believe you are actually willing to help them.
But, above all, Dennis encourages authenticity. “People will write you off the moment they think you are not being genuine.” So simply be yourself!