Forget lunch. Other ways to network

Most of the people you see every day you will not invite to lunch.  I know that.  So now what do you do?

At the office lunchroom, at church, at association meetings, before and after business meetings, at classes, waiting for the bus, at technology events, business fairs and anywhere else people are doing what you are doing, network.  Talk to teachers especially.  They have contacts with people in every business and class they teach.  Search out salespeople.  They spend their whole day getting to know decision makers.  Give a salesperson a lead and they will do their best to help you.   

Everyone you meet knows someone else.  Get in the habit of talking to people.  It is always a little frightening.  One of the most outgoing people I know told me, “People say they wish they could be like me and just say hello to strangers.  What they don’t realize is that it is also hard for me to do it.  I just force myself to say hello and a conversation usually follows.”

Back to the old formula, talk with a person about their successes, then ask them for advice.  The absolute greatest book ever written on the subject of engaging people in conversation is How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie.  It is written in small segments so you can read and apply one lesson a day.  I have re-read the book several times. 

If you are going to be meeting with people you may never see again, bring business cards.  You can make them on your computer and there are a lot of places on the internet that will make them inexpensively.  Don’t forget your email address as well as phone numbers.

Why business cards? If you are networking with people who have no way to contact you later, you haven’t built much of a network.  Understand that most of your cards will be thrown away within a week, but some will be kept.  My best success has been with magnetic business cards, but they are expensive. 


Something To Do Today

Get a copy of How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie.  Libraries and bookstores all have copies.  Start reading one chapter a day and applying it.

If you don’t have business cards, get them or make them.

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