Women To Watch - Page 42 - Networking Tips (2)

Women To Watch
- Page 42
Networking Tips (2)
Find the networking group that works for you
The styles of networking groups can vary. Some are more casual, while others require business attire. Some organize happy hours, while others meet first thing in the morning and forbid alcohol. “You have to find what feels right,” marketing strategist Linda Schenk said. “Getting a little out of your comfort zone is good — that’s how growth happens — but if it’s really not right for you, find something else that works for you.”

Set aside one-on-one time
A major part of networking is getting to know the people around you. Ask people you’re interested in for a coffee date or breakfast to get to know them or to learn more about their business and how you can be of assistance, said Bev Smith, president of the Chesapeake Professional Women’s Network.

Faith Wachter, president of the Business Women’s Network of Howard County, compares networking to a party. “There’s no pressure in trying to get to know every single person in a party,” she said. “Just try to gravitate toward a group. Enjoy the convo where you’re comfortable. Save the elevator speech for the shark tank.”

Listen to other people
“It can’t just be about you. It really has to be about that active listening,” said Wachter. “Listen to what other people are saying, and listen to how you can help them.”

Be open and friendly
Show people that you’re interested in networking and helping your counterparts, Schenk said. If you’re looking for a conversation starter, an icebreaker can be as simple as a compliment or asking about how they heard about the event. A smile will also go a long way, Schenk said, but keep your approach genuine.

Make goals for every networking event
Networking can be a time suck if you don’t know what you’re looking for, so don’t just mindlessly collect business cards or go to an