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Attending Networking Events
Ivan Misner, Guest Author

Experienced networkers know that the fastest way to expand and enhance their network is to regularly attend gatherings where networking takes place. Having many people with overlapping interests within arm's reach facilitates the process of making connections based on mutual benefit.

While flipping recently through Masters of Networking, a book I released back in 2000, I ran across an article contributed by my friends Cindy Mount and Jeremy Allen. The article outlines a great, six-part foundation for success at networking events, so I thought I'd share their outline with all of you here.

Attending the Networking Event

As every good networker knows, one of the fastest ways to grow your business quickly and successfully is through word-of-mouth marketing. That's the fundamental reason networkers attend networking events. And people who have made a science of systematic networking keep six essentials in mind. Each time they attend an event, they have 1. a purpose, 2. a goal and 3. a plan, and they make sure to 4. execute the plan, 5. evaluate their efforts and 6. follow up on all contacts.

1. Purpose

What's your reason for attending the event? Do you expect to show up, shake hands and exchange business cards just to be sociable? No . . . your reason for being at the event should be because you see networking as a complete philosophy of doing business and living your life, and because you see that helping others is the best route to helping yourself. Keep this in mind at all times.

2. Goal

What is your destination? What do you need to accomplish at the event? What do you expect the outcome to be? How many contacts do you need, and in what kind of businesses? Do you need to become a gatekeeper as a step in obtaining your desired outcome? Think of professions, trades or business owners who would most likely hear of or see people who need your service or products, and target these people for your networking efforts.

3. Plan

Once you know your destination, you need a map to show you how to get there. A good networking plan will include these things:

  • Research. Whom do you have to meet? Where do they have lunch? What do their company's annual plans say? What are some of the trends within your target industry?

  • Competition. Who are your competitors? What is their market share, and how much market share do you expect to capture? What edge does your competition have? What are your strengths and advantages?

  • Resources. What resources do you need, and where will you get them? Do you need guidance? Are your listening skills good enough to get you your money's worth?

  • Backup. Do you need to recruit new contacts or associates who can take over some of your duties or help you reach your goals faster?

  • Schedule. How much time have you given yourself to achieve your goals? Do you have contingency plans in case you encounter problems along the way?

4. Execution

Plans don't work unless they're implemented. To be successful, you must begin executing your plan. Use a time management planner and project organizer that can show you a week at a glance. Mark dates when you expect certain results, then work backward to monthly, weekly and daily completion of specific objectives.

5. Evaluation

As you reach each checkpoint in your plan, stop and evaluate your results. If you find that a particular networking group is not meeting your goals, adjust your plans. You may need a new way to work the group, or you may need a new group. You may also need to consider learning a new skill or getting some help to meet your goals.

6. Follow-Up

Make complete notes on everybody you meet, keep their business cards and brochures handy, and think about the potential of each new contact you've made. Begin making appointments to meet and work with these contacts as soon as practical. Don't let a recent introduction grow cold and be forgotten.

The key word in "networking" is "work." It takes time, effort and patience, but the payoff of powerful networking will be a personal marketing strategy that accelerates the achievement of your goals.

Copyright © - Ivan Misner - Reprinted with permission. Called the father of modern networking, Dr. Ivan Misner is the Founder of BNI and the senior partner for the Referral Institute. He has written nine books, including his recently released New York Times best seller, Truth or Delusion? Busting Networking's Biggest Myths.

Click on a book cover or book title link to place an order

Truth or Delusion?: Busting Networking's Biggest Myths - Ivan R. Misner - Many books teach the "who, what, where, why & how" of Networking Like a Pro - Ivan R. Misner - Networking masters Ivan Misner, David Alexander, and Brian Hilliard reveal the science behind the art of networking and show you how to build long-term relationships that pay off. With this powerful guide, you'll learn how to use time-tested techniques paired with new media tools, including blogs, twitter, and social networking sites, to reach quality prospects, leverage new and current contacts, motivate ongoing referrals and more - boosting your client base and their bottom line!

Larry's Review: Another great Ivan Misner's book.
Networking Like a Pro

Truth or Delusion?: Busting Networking's Biggest Myths Truth or Delusion?: Busting Networking's Biggest Myths - Ivan R. Misner - Many books teach the "who, what, where, why & how" of professional networking. Truth or Delusion separates the reality from the fantasy by presenting Truths and Delusions about networking and then shows why they are either real or fakes. For example: Delusion: The best way to ensure referral success is to treat your referral sources by the "Golden Rule." Treat them the way you would want to be treated. Truth: The best way is to treat your referral sources the way THEY want to be treated. The referral process is more about emotion than facts. Find out how your referral sources want to be treated and how they would like you to treat their referrals.

Larry's Review: Ivan Misner's book, "Truth or Delusion?" should be in every serious networkers library. It is truly an eye-opener. Read it and reap the rewards committed networkers deserve!
The Six X-tremes of Power Business Networking: How to Get Your Business Noticed in Crowded Rooms! - Jeff Glaze - This 60-Page e-book breaks all of the rules of modern business networking. It gives you detailed information on how to stand out from the rest of the crowd when you are trying to promote your business. Whether you are a seasoned networker or a beginner, this e-book has information that can help you to be more successful and increase recognition for both you and your business.

Larry's Review: An excellent read for enthusiastic networkers!

Power Networking: 59 Secrets for Personal & Professional Success Power Networking: 59 Secrets for Personal & Professional Success - Donna Fisher & Sandy Vilas - Packed with 59 proven networking methods for achieving success in all areas of your life, this inspiring book helps you to discover key networking skills to show you how to make the requests that get the results you want.

Larry's Review: The importance of making important business connections cannot be understated. Donna offers sound advice and encourages you to give up your shyness and offer to assist others as you build a network of support; one that increases your visibility, expands your network and marks you as someone who is willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.

The Essential Network: Success Through Personal Connections - John L. Bennett - This book is about establishing, maintaining, and reaping the benefits of connections. It incorporates many personal stories to illustrate the productive results that can occur from building connections. These include people who have found life-partners, avoided personal and financial disasters, made career changes, built businesses, and met famous people.

Larry's Review: The principles of business networking in an easy-read and understandable format. Highly recommended!
Essential Network

The Networking Guy's Top 50 Tips The Networking Guy's Top 50 Tips: A Simple Guide to Networking Success - Dave Sherman - These 50 success-proven tips will change forever the way you do things, bringing power and purpose to those brief encounters that once were meaningless and unproductive. Easy to understand and simple to apply, they will show you precisely what it takes to become a comfortable and effective networker in all situations - and with all persons - you encounter.

Larry's Review: I love this book! A quick-read, no nonsense book with everything you need to know about being a successful networker! Read it and reap! Highly recommended!

  If you would like to talk one-on-one with Larry James about relationship issues related to this article, you are invited to arrange for a private coaching session by telephone. Go to Networking Coaching for specific details.

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7/19/15 College Business Networking Course - My book, "Ten Commitments of Networking" will be the text book for a Business Networking course taught at Tulsa University and Oklahoma State University beginning in September, 2015. Facebook.com/NetworkingHeadquarters

1/19/10 Networking BLOG - Something new is posted about business networking about every 4th day by Larry James and often featuring Guest Authors. Larry's Business Networking BLOG

Your book the "Ten Commitments of Networking" is one of the best books I have read in a long time! It's sales, self-help and networking all wrapped into one. I did not want to put it down last night! I hope that others will check it out as it's a must read for anyone in business. ~ Andrew Avella, Tucson Networking Association

8/12/08 Networking is something many people shy away from, which is to their disadvantage. Now - or anytime - is really a great time to get out there and meet people and keep yourself on everyone's minds. You'll find that as you become more connected, there are many benefits in addition to the increased exposure of yourself and your products.

12/15/07 Read "rave" reviews for "Ten Commitments of Networking." Click here!

3/1/07:  Networking is in the News! Carol Wissmann interviews Larry James for the Arizona Business Gazette. Read the story here!

7/31/06 The "Ten Commitments of Networking" is now being published internationally. Foreign rights have been licensed to India, Korea, Poland, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines & Vietnam.

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