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5 SPEEDY NETWORKING TIPS FOR BUSY ENTREPRENEURS

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Connections will be your most valuable resource as an entrepreneur. Going to numerous events and meetings is usually an effective way to gather information, learn about opportunities, and find talent.

But for some events, you’ll only have enough time to pop in and out. Here are some speedy networking tips that you can use to make a small amount of socializing worth your while.

Interrupt sales people - politely. At every event, you’ll likely find people hustling up leads. While these professionals, often deserve your time, if you’re in a hurry, it’s OK to let them know right away whether you’re a good fit for the product. Find a polite way to keep moving and be considerate of the salesperson’s time, such as using the example below.

“That sounds like a great [product or service], but I don’t want to waste your time. I’m not really in need of XYZ [product or service] right now. If you’ll give me your card, I’ll definitely consider reaching out to you in the future.”

Set a time-saving goal. Making a commitment to pass out 10 business cards, talk to three executive-level people, or decide what specific information you’d like to learn about will keep you mindful of how you are spending your time.

Arrive at the right time. Social dynamics can change throughout the event, especially at afternoon socials.  In most cases, the important deals happen after everyone’s loosened up a bit. When you’re looking for a polite way to save time, you might consider skipping the first hour or so.

Ask people how you can help them. Don’t forget that giving can be a more effective networking strategy than taking. Sooner, rather than later, you may want to ask something like, “What do you need the most right now?” You may find that they have a problem you can solve or an area that could use your expertise. Instead of wasting an hour of each other’s time, you’ve just found a way to mutually benefit in a matter of minutes.

For some, entrepreneurship can seem like working all day and networking all night. Using the tips outlined above, you can streamline one of those activities and have more time to enjoy the rest of your day.

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Stephen Loy