Today, you can find plenty of networking occurs online and offline. However, it would be foolish not to think that it’s the most powerful networking medium out there. A phone call or an online chat with a friend does not substitute a real meet, face to face. Real life networking can be intimidating. You have to think on your feet and really connect with the person on the opposite side of the table. There are plenty of challenges you have to face and here’s how you can become a smooth cat when networking in the offline, real life world.

Go For a Networking Event

If you want to meet more people offline, then attending a networking event is the way to go. You’ll meet a host of business folks with similar aims of connecting with others. You’re probably part of a few professional organisations and associations, so watch out when they organise events. Check out Meetup which is a portal for hosting events in the city. These events are a perfect place to hone your real life networking skills.

However, events are not the only place where networking could happen. It can happen at a social activity such as at the theatre, hanging out at the local joint or a party. So be ready.

Carry a Business Card

Don’t expect the people you meet to remember your name or business forever. Handing out a business card will greatly help in this. It’s a simple way of providing information about yourself and giving out contact details. This helps the people you meet with recalling your name, in case they want to get in touch with you. A business card should include your name, profession, phone number, email and social media links.

Also, get a business card from the other person. You can’t expect yourself to remember his / her name or details.

Make the First Move

You’re not the only one who is a bit nervous about meeting a new person. Making the first move has certain advantages. You will be the one making an impression and it’s not the other way around. Also, you will be the one who leads the conversation’s direction, so you can point it towards something you like. They will feel at ease because you stepped up.

Keep Your Ears Open

Networking is not just about you yapping, but giving the other person space to talk about himself and his business too. Don’t just shut up and stare out into the distance. You have to really listen and appreciate what the other person is communicating.

Be Yourself

Possibly, of all networking tips you’ll come across, this is the most important one. Being yourself gives you a confident attitude. It would be foolish to try and be someone you’re not. It would be noticed a mile away and people will dislike you for it. Being who you are allows people to connect with you.

Follow Up

Keep in touch with the person you met. You can do this through online networking using social media platforms. This helps people remember you. It’s best to do it within 48 hours of meeting them.

So what you’re waiting for? Get off your seat, go out and meet some people!