To be a successful businessperson, you must have a successful network—and not just on Facebook alone! That’s not always an easy thing to build, but with the advice of Joe Takash, author of Results Through Relationships: Networking, you too can become a master of networking. Here are his eight tips:

  1. Make a great first impression. Set a positive tone by thinking “S.H.E. is key” every time you meet someone new. Have a genuine Smile, a firm Handshake, and direct Eye contact.
  2. Be a name-learning machine. Show you value people by learning their names. An easy way to do this is to repeat their names after being introduced: “It’s nice to meet you, John.”
  3. Ask open-ended questions. Show genuine interest in others by asking about them. Questions like “Tell me about your job,” and “What do you like most about what you do?” will get them to open up.
  4. Master the art of listening. When talking to others, eliminate distractions like cell phones and email notifications. Show attentive body language and avoid rehearsing what you want to say next, interrupting or finishing people’s sentences.
  5. Establish common ground. Doing this can raise the level of your networking relationship from average to great. From this foundation, you can build a relationship of respect or even friendship.  
  6. Learn to help others before yourself. The most successful networkers think of the many ways to help others before helping themselves. When you’re on the lookout for ways to help other people, they will trust you, and in turn, your business. 
  7. Describe how what you do helps others. Regardless of your profession, people want to know how what you do benefits others. It gives them something of interest to tell others about you.
  8. Follow up and work your network. Establish a system to record information about contacts you meet at networking events. Make notes about people and their businesses and mark your calendar to touch base with new contacts in a timely manner. This will keep you in the front of people’s minds when it comes time to do business. iBi