Picture it: A group of bored people stand around in work attire and make small talk, while shoving their business cards at one another. They just dropped twenty bucks to attend another networking mixer that did not end up getting them any new business or leads. They see the same group of people at every event and this is not producing fresh leads. Frustrating? Are you “networked out?” With so much of the same old networking groups, many people dread going to the same events over and over.
According to Paul Bernard of the Huffington Post, “Networking can be a powerful tool if you know how to focus your networking efforts strategically and understand that the practice is ultimately about building relationships.”
6 New Rules for Effective Business Networking:
Meet new people- Don’t talk to the same people you already know. Meet new people.
Build personal relationships first- Nothing is worse than having a business card shoved at you by a stranger. The real benefit from networking is when you build relationships with the right people.
It’s not about you- (yet) Before asking for a favor, a sale, an introduction or telling them about your product, see what you can do for them. Ask them about what they do first.
Don’t Sell- Please don’t do hard sales, at least not at networking events, it doesn’t work and it’s likely to annoy people. Don’t be ‘that’ person. Don’t corner people and insist they schedule a home party or buy your products.
Follow Up- There are plenty of ways to follow up. The phone, email or even LinkedIn. Make sure you do something with the contacts that you make to keep the lines of communication open, without being pushy.
Use Social Networking to build your business- In this day and age of Facebook and LinkedIn, you’d be a fool not to take full advantage of these huge and mostly free networking tools!
In comes The Sophisticates Social and Networking Group. They are a new style group that started in Tampa Bay, Florida. They reach far beyond the traditional working groups. What makes them different? “We are a hybrid of both work and social” Cofounder Angelina Clarke-Kares explained “We place an emphasis on interpersonal relationships among our members, vs just business relationships. We also try to think outside the box in terms of the events we offer our members.” Their soon-to-be released book, The Sophisticates Guide to Life goes into more detail on various topics from 22 Traits of Highly Successful People, to business advice to many other fresh and relevant topics. They are a stylized group that is also open to men coming into the mix. What sets them apart from the same old, same old? Below are four examples:
Be with the “In Crowd” - In every major city, there are hot spots where CEO’s and up and coming business people like to hang out. Where are your hot spots? Our group makes it a point to try them all! All you have to do it check out our event calendar!
Take up an Important Cause- Our group is very big into volunteering and giving back to our community. We are not just pretty faces. Don't be fooled. Dress for Success and American Cancer Society are the two charities we have recently worked with. We urge our members to help out, or perhaps volunteer their expertise in their field. It's a great way to do good and get your name out there! Fundraisers fall under this category as well. Do good and get good back.
We reinvented the Meet & Mingle with our Signature, Little Black Dress Social Mixers- Is there an activity you’ve been wanting to try, or a new skill you’d like to learn? What would stressed-out professionals do to unwind? We find that people in a relaxed, social setting are more open to conversation which makes this the perfect time to open up, ask questions, and build new relationships! Women love the chance to dress up and sip on a cocktail while networking! We also provide classes, workshops and seminars on relevant topics.
We take it a Step Further- We are more than just a working/business group, we are also friends and members that treat one other with respect. This is a fresh and new way of thinking when it comes to friendships and business groups. Don’t be fooled by our stylized look. Our members are highly intelligent, educated people. All ages are in our group and all are welcome, you do not have to have a job or product to push, to be involved. We have members that may be going through a hard time personally and we are there for them, or send them a card or even send them a small gift to help them through a hard time. We are only an email or phone call away for our members and always respond within a day when they reach out to us.
Meet New Faces- We are relationship based and focused on interpersonal relationships. We always have new faces for you to meet and mingle with because we are a large group and there will always be new people for you to meet! Once a Sophisticate, you are welcome at any of our events across the country.
If you are a woman in a city that would benefit from a new-style networking group like The Sophisticates, we urge you to contact them about becoming a Branch President: Info@TheSophisticates.org Or become a member! Current Branches all over Florida, Los Angeles, Seattle and soon to be Indiana! 813-428-8045