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Feb 6, 201911:02 PMOpen Mic

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The simple secret to successful networking

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Bring your toolbox

Knowledge is power, and there’s plenty of knowledge that each of us holds that can be beneficial to others. Whether you’ve owned your business for 45 years or you’ve pursued careers in various corporate roles and industries, every individual has professional experiences and lessons that can offer value to others. Approach networking with the idea of what you can bring to the table, not what you can take away from it.

Follow up with intention and authenticity

There’s more to networking than exchanging business cards and contact information. Be genuine and show intention in your follow-up conversations. It’s important to nurture the connections you make and build your professional relationships with authenticity.

Successful networking groups evolve

Every group has a “shelf life” of utility for its members and all successful networking groups should evolve to meet the changing needs of the group. That issue of utility, and thus shelf life, sticks with me through each meeting. If it isn’t adding value, people will migrate out. If they are growing and evolving because of the support in the group, they will stay. That is why I try to keep mine relevant to every attendee by knowing what they do, why they’re there, and what specific value they can offer.

As you build your trusted network of personal and professional contacts, find opportunities and groups that best align with what you need and what you can offer as a professional. Think outside the box. Be open-minded. Try something new. Forge a new path. Network with intention.

Meg Schmitz is a senior franchise consultant at FranChoice.

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