1.Analise the group before joining to determine its synergy with your business goals. The most successful professionals always invest time to research which groups will offer the best opportunity to connect with qualified prospects before investing time, effort and money in a networking group.
2. Set a maximum of three groups at any one time. Credibility grows more quickly within a group than across groups. You achieve more and better results by investing in fewer networking groups. Maximize your results by focusing your efforts around a small group of high-value relationships.
3. Commit to investing the quantity and quality of time required to reap the benefits. Others will naturally be cautious about you. Your attitude and actions over time are the most powerful and productive resources you have to help you overcome this. Relationships require investment and commitment, so be prepared to invest in a long term perspective.
4. Be pro-active in your dealings with other members. Human nature is such that we tend to resist coming out of our comfort zone. We wait for others to make the first step. Make it a point to continually seek out new contacts at every meeting. Suggest follow up contacts and stay in touch. Others will appreciate you for it.
5. Be selective in your relationships and commit to them totally. You cannot, nor should you try to create relationships with everyone you meet. Be personable and polite, but have the ability to identify high-value relationships. Then focus your time and efforts around these important people. Your future depends on it.
6. Make a tangible contribution to the group. Every group has survival as its primary purpose. One of the most powerful ways to develop trust and build credibility is to make a tangible contribution to the group in some way. This is one of the most overlooked networking group success strategies.
7. Continually look for ways to bring value to other members or the group. We live in a “me first” society. Focus on being helpful to others. When you seek to bring value or render service to others first, you immediately activate the principle of reciprocation. This simple strategy will have others see you in a completely different perspective than anyone else.
8. Be aware of the referral potential of the group. Every person you meet has the potential to help you achieve your objectives. Even if they cannot use your product or service, they may know someone who can. View every person you meet in this light and be prepared to communicate your needs to them when they ask.
9. Measure your results. Networking is largely a social activity. We tend to get involved in the social process and expect the relationship to generate results. Setting written objectives and reviewing on an on-going basis will ensure you are turning activity into productivity.
10. Continually develop new networking group opportunities. You, and your company or career, are in a continuously changing environment. What served your purposes last year may not fit into your vision today. Continuously evaluate your networking options by visiting new groups.