Networking is a great way to catapult your business in a short time, if you know how to do it right. You can find customers, business partners, mentors and more. The key is how to find people and communicating with them correctly. Here are just a few tips for how to network effectively to make yourself more successful.

* Be friendly. If you’re at a business conference, you’re not going to able to network by being rude, or sulking in the corner like a loner. The same goes online. You need to be friendly and pleasant to everyone. Do ask about business, but that doesn’t mean forgetting to ask about their family and how things are going with them.

* Give and take. Nothing is more annoying that someone who shows up at a seminar or on a message board, introduces, and immediately starts hounding people for help. Sure, when you get started, you’re going to need a lot of help, but that doesn’t mean you need to ask someone to walk you through it and not do any work. And if you want someone to help you, you need to be willing to help them in return.

* Keep it up. Meeting people is great, but in order to be a successful networker, you need to keep the relationships going. It may be by contacting them about a business deal, or just giving them a call or sending an email to see how they’re doing. Networking is a continuing process, not a one-time thing.

So now that you have some great tips on networking, where do you go to get started? The easiest way to network is online. There are hundreds of ways to meet people and maintain positive working relationships from across the country or even across the world. You just have to learn how to use all the technology available to you.

If you can find quality websites based on the type of business you’re doing, they probably have message boards or chat rooms. This is a great way to network with a lot of people at one time that you know are interested in the same types of business as you are.

Social networking sites are a great way to meet people and stay in touch online. The problem with these sites is that they can also easily turn off customers and potential business partners. You need to be careful what you post on your pages and how it makes you look. If you’re serious about your business, try more business-based networks like Linkedln instead of social-based ones like MySpace.

Blogging is another great way to maintain online relationships without having to spend a large amount of time communicating with each person individually. Blogging is a quick and easy way to keep people updated on what’s going on with you and your business. And you can read and comment on others blogs to keep up with them.

While the Internet provides an unlimited number of networking possibilities, remember that face-to-face networking is still essential. This is generally done the old fashioned way, at seminars, conferences, and other face-to-face business activities.

After a conference, it’s a good idea to follow up with online networking. Be sure to send follow-up emails to the contacts you made, telling them how great it was to meet them. Try bringing up ideas that came up during conversations and suggesting ways to follow up on them. And be sure to add them as contacts on social networking sites.

Networking 101
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