Most people mistake networking with giving out business cards. Here’s how you can do it like a Pro:
1) I don’t own business cards anymore and I don’t take them anymore (except for certain countries where it is a matter of culture and politeness). If I want to stay in touch with anybody, I ask them for one of the following: LinkedIn profile, Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook, email, phone number.
Everyone has their preferred communication channel. A business card tells me many but not the specific one. By saving the one they use the most you make sure you contact them on the channel they’d answer with the greatest chances.
2) Be sincerely interested in other people. If you really don’t care about others, then this is probably not your area. Imagine a job interview. Do inquire about their passions, how they got to do what they do, what advice they could give you. Ask questions that impress, and raise interest. Leave an impression with a good conversation. For instance what keeps them awake at night, what would they never sacrifice, and past experiences outside of work.
And write down at least one of the things they tell you.
3) Followup. Don’t tell me you’d followup if you’re not going to – it decreases your credibility. If you haven’t agreed on a meeting in a few days to talk about a certain idea or topic you discussed, ask when would be a good time to followup (usually a time frame of a few months), or, if they have, on which social media you could follow them.
When you followup, remember to mention the one thing the person told you from 2). Most people will be impressed by your ‘memory’ and more than happy to chat with a person that remembers something personal about them.
Photo Credit: Bloomberg Business