Harness the power of networking
Never underestimate the power of networking. It’s a big world out there and you never know the networking potential with each person you meet.
Meeting new people is an enjoyable experience and if you want your venture or organisation to succeed it’s going to require mingling with your local community and the wider public. The following are some points that will make every networking opportunity count. These points are also just as important for businesses as well.
The elevator pitch
The elevator pitch is a quick, succinct summation of what your organisation does.
Develop, rehearse and adapt your pitch – review it regularly to ensure it is reflecting the current place where your organisation is at.
Don’t make it too wordy, remember it’s the lead in you need to entice an invite to share more about what you do. Not everyone will want to know more however this is the best way to connect your cause with new people without boring them with a long speech.
One of the other biggest tools you can have in successful networking is a business card ready at hand. Wherever you go make sure you have some in your pocket, wallet or purse and some extras in your car too.
I’ve also found purchasing some of the small clear business card holders from an office supplies store useful, keep a few in the car so if the opportunity presents itself and you find yourself in a place that provides a complimentary product or service to your organisation, you can always ask if you can leave a holder of cards there.
Don’t forget to note down where you left them and add it to your calendar to replenish them regularly. If they start to disappear quickly you can look at leaving other marketing materials.
If you are meeting someone for the first time and you find they have a product, service or skill that might come in handy to your organisation one day, ask for their business card!
Manage your contacts
When you get back to the office, input their information down in your contact management software (vital to any successful organisation: check out Daylite for Mac, ACT! For PC or SalesForce on the web) and also note down when and where you met them and anything you can recall about your conversation that you could use later down the track to jog their memory of your introduction.
If you use your contact management software as one of your most important office tools personalised to your organisation requirements you will soon build up a database of useful contacts. Cross reference contacts so you can track who is connected to whom.
The term ‘social networking’ is the new buzz word but don’t drive yourself crazy trying to be everything to everyone, everywhere.
Research the different types of websites included in the social networking phenomenon (Facebook, LinkedIN, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ etc) and find out how best to use each you decide on to maximise your visitor to donor conversions.
Often when an organisation signs onto many social networking sites they usually find themselves posting the same content on each site, usually word for word. My advice is to mix it up a bit, avoid being bland and posting the same information on each site or you will quickly alienate people who follow your organisation on multiple networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
LinkedIN www.linkedin.com has often been touted as the “Facebook for grownups” and it’s definitely worth getting your profile up online for both yourself as an individual and as an organisation.
Not only will it help your networking but also you can stay up to date with the latest news and information related to your organisation focus by joining the various groups available.