The ability to network successfully can be one of the greatest assets in business. It allows some people to find incredible opportunities, while others just watch from the sidelines.
Here are seven of the most important habits to develop:
1. Ask insightful questions.
Before attending networking events, get the names of the people who are expected to attend and search social media sites like LinkedIn to figure out which topics they're probably most interested in.
2. Add value.
One of the most powerful networking practices is to provide immediate value to a new connection.
3. Learn their 'story.'
Ask successful entrepreneurs to tell you how they got where they are. Most people think of this as an exercise in rapport building, but hearing these stories can tell you a lot about a person's approach to business.
4. Share a memorable fact.
Mention something personal that defines who you really are.
5. Keep a list.
Lists give you something to reference in conversation the next time you meet.
6. Make small promises and keep them.
No matter how small a promise you make -- such as sending an email or returning a phone call -- delivering on that promise reflects on your character.
7. Reward your 'power' contacts.
Keep a list of your top five to 10 networking partners and do something each week to add value to one person's life or business.