9 Tips to Better Networking in the Hospitality Industry

I spent over 20 years working for a few major brand name organizations and people interacted with me professionally because of these brand affiliations. I have since pursued my dream of being self employed and the first piece of advice I was given was to become good at networking. This was a great tip…, but how do I become good at networking?

Your take away from this post will be 9 quick tips I have been given by my mentors and from (sometimes painful) trial and error that has helped me improve my networking skills:

  1. Get out of your office- sitting at your desk will not help improve your networking skills or enable you to grow your business.
  2. Get involved –
    • Join organizations within your industry and become an active member of the organization on a committee or leadership role.
    • Get involved in organizations or causes you have a passion for and enjoy.
    • Find organizations to participate in that will partner you with people that have ‘like interests’.
  3. Create your own personal brand- who are you and what can you do for the person you are speaking with.
  4. Refine your ‘elevator’ speech and be able to articulate in 20 words or less what you do and your value proposition. Make sure you communicate with family, friends and neighbors-what you can do for them and how can help you.
  5. Give referralsunderstand the needs of others and offer referrals…unsolicited!
  6. Ask for referralsdo not be afraid to ask your family, friends, neighbors, customers and vendor partners if they know anyone that could benefit from your product or service.
  7. Understand and become active in Social Networking
    • LinkedIn
      1. Groups within your industry and your interests
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Blogging
  8. When you attend events –
    • Overcome your fear by setting a specific goal for meeting people     at the event (i.e. 3 new people)
    • Make a good first impression
    • Spend more time listening than talking
    • Spend more time learning about the other person/organization      and their needs than sharing about you
    • Bring your business cards
  9. Follow-up with everyone that you meet

Networking has not only helped me grow my business, it has helped me grow as a professional. It was scary at first to no longer have a brand name behind me. Now, I am pleased that people know me for who I am, what I have accomplished and what I can do for them in the future.

So, let’s get out there and network. I hope these ‘quick tips’ help you as we all set our sights on a successful 2012 and beyond!

I like to define networking as cultivating mutually beneficial, give-and-take, win-win relationships… The end result may be to develop a large and diverse group of people who will gladly and continually refer a lot of business to us, while we do the same for them.” Bob Burg- Speaker/Author

If you enjoyed this article, you may also be interested in “Holiday Networking for Hospitality Industry Professionals”.

 

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