Networking is more than face time at meetings. It’s about really getting to know others. Just showing up and passing out cards isn’t enough. You need to spend some time getting to know other people, learning about their businesses, and understanding how (and when) to refer to them, just as you are hoping they will send referrals your way.
Start a conversation with anyone and everyone. Learn how to ask questions and discuss topics that have nothing to do with your business. Establish a common interest and develop a relationship. Keep asking questions until you find something in common. To be likeable, first and foremost, you must be friendly. As simple as that sounds, friendliness is not the norm. Being friendly requires time, attention, and mental focus.
Remember, many people at networking events do not know how to network. They may brush you off because they really don’t know that you have a large network and can give them referrals. Therefore, it is important to find out as much about them as you can. Then you can inform them of people and situations in your life experiences that can help them. Offer to send them an article or a link to a website that might be of interest to them. Ask who they would like to meet. Introduce them or send the information when you follow-up. Be a good resource.