Long Island Business Organization Experts Offer Planning Strategies for Business Networking in the New Year
HAUPPAUGE, NEW YORK, DECEMBER 14, 2010 – Now is a great time to unwind and take stock of the previous year. But it’s also the perfect time to plan your business networking strategy for 2011, according to Terri Alessi–Miceli, President of HIA-LI, the recognized voice for business on Long Island. “Our membership has identified our organization’s ability to provide high-quality business networking environments as one of the top reasons to join HIA-LI,” says Alessi-Miceli. To help business professionals develop a successful business networking plan for the New Year, HIA-LI executives have identified the Top Ten Business Networking Tips for 2011. More information about HIA-LI is available at http://www.HIA-LI.org.
Top Ten Business Networking Tips for 2011
1. Keep it real. Remember that networking is about being genuine, building trust and relationships, and seeing how you can help others.
2. Set some goals. Ask yourself, “What are my business goals when participating in events and meetings or joining groups and committees?” This will help you accomplish measurable business objectives. Remember, some business networking meetings are based more on educating or volunteering, rather than on strictly making business connections.
3. Play the field. Visit as many groups or committees as possible that spark your interest. Notice the tone and attitude of the group. Are the action items and initiatives interesting to you? Does the leadership appear competent? Do the other members sound supportive of one another? Are they the types of people or titles that you are interested in meeting? “At HIA-LI, for example, we encourage members to attend at least one committee meeting to see if it is the right fit,” said Alessi-Miceli.
4. Ask open-ended questions. Exchange business cards and ask open-ended questions in networking conversations. Use questions that ask who, what, where, when, and how versus those that can be answered with a yes or no. “These types of questions will open up the discussion and show listeners that you are interested in them,” says Alessi-Miceli. “You can learn more business information for future
reference as well.”
5. Give to get. Become recognized as a powerful resource for others. When you are known as a strong resource, people remember to turn to you for suggestions, ideas, and names of other people. This keeps you visible to them. And visibility is key to networking success.
6. Know your story. In order to earn referrals, you must first have a clear understanding of what you do that you can easily articulate to others. Develop your 30 second commercial and use it often. “You must develop a clear understanding of what you do and why, who is your target market, and what makes you unique or different from others in similar businesses,” says Alessi-Miceli.
7. Know what you want. Know what you are looking for and how others may help you. Too often people in conversations ask, “How may I help you?” and no immediate answer comes to mind.
8. Follow through on referrals. When people give you referrals, your actions are a reflection on them. Follow through quickly and efficiently on referrals you are given. “Respect and honor people who offer you referrals and watch your referrals grow,” assures Alessi-Miceli.
9. Reconnect quickly. Within a couple of days, make sure to contact people you have just met who may benefit from what you do and vice versa. Tell them you enjoyed meeting them, and suggest that you get together and share ideas.
10. Volunteer your expertise. Seek volunteer positions in organizations that you join. This is a great way to stay visible, give back and get known in your business or industry community.
“We find that those executives who have developed an actual business networking plan are the most successful when participating with HIA-LI or any other business organization,” advises Alessi-Miceli.
HIA-LI helps Long Island businesses prosper. For over 30 years, we have been the recognized voice for business on Long Island and a powerful force and economic engine for regional development. We provide a forum for business leaders to network, problem solve and obtain advice on critical issues facing their businesses. Our member companies represent tens of thousands of business professionals. We’re headquartered in and support one of the largest industrial parks in the United States. HIA-LI programs and events promote strategic partnerships, targeted networking, information sharing and business advocacy. Members benefit from our committees, educational programs, career resources,research capabilities, mentoring opportunities and business advisory services. For more information, visit https://www.hia-li.org or call 631-543-5355.
Anne Strauss, Communication Strategy Group