Networking. A word that is often used around any office you step foot in, maybe even in your personal life, but what does it actually mean? If you turned to the next person you see and ask them to describe networking to you, what do you think they would say? Nine times out of ten they would probably say, “Talking to people,” or “Telling someone about your business.” Even Google defines it as, “Networking: interact with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career.” Although these things are true, that is not all networking is. Networking is a job within itself. Just introducing yourself and sharing information with someone isn’t going to cut it. That’s not going to get you that next client or that next business partner. There is so much more that goes into networking. Here are four pieces of advice to properly network:

  1. Prepare Prepare Prepare
  2. This isn’t a supermarket, so stop trying to sell
  3. Make the first move
  4. Follow up