February 1, 2016

Karen DelVecchio, Executive Vice President, Bridgeport Regional Business Council

Networking Tips 

BRBC events can be an invaluable way to grow your network.  People want to do business with people they know, so here are some tips to make the most of event opportunities:

Smile – while it can sometimes be intimidating to walk into a room where you don’t know anyone, if you walk in with a smile, you will be letting people know that you are friendly and approachable.

Introduce yourself – everyone is there for the same reason so don’t be afraid to approach someone else who may be standing alone or a small group of people.  Walk up, shake their hand, ask their name, repeat their name – it shows you were listening!  You can also ask BRBC staff members or Ambassadors to make a few introductions for you.  And if you already know many attendees, find someone that may be alone and make some introductions.

Ask questions – everyone likes to talk about themselves.  Ask what they do, how long they have been doing it, who is their best customer.

Elevator Speech – have a couple of prepared sentences for when someone asks “What do you do?”  It should be short, concise and indicate what you can do to help a potential client.  Allow for the follow up questions and conversations.  Examples - “We are an accounting firm that specializes in providing a full range of services for small businesses” “We provide technology solutions for companies that are interested in supporting what they already have in place”.

Give before you get – the best networkers know how important it is to be a connector and a resource – making introductions and giving information without thinking about reciprocity.  If you genuinely try to help others, you will reap the benefits over time.  Your generosity is the first step toward building long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships.

Whoever gets the most business cards doesn’t win – it is about quality of connections, not quantity.

Follow up – jot a couple of notes on the back of the business card of people you connect with and be sure to follow up with them within 24 to hours.  Contact them with additional information on a topic you may have discussed, to ask if they would like to be added to your newsletter, to set up a time to meet to chat further or just to say “It was nice to meet you”.

Be sure to use all of these tips at our first, and biggest Business After Hours of 2016 at People’s United Bank on February 10th from 5 pm to 7 pm.