The point of networking?

I had the opportunity to go to 2 different Chamber events this week and I still haven’t figured out the right approach for making these things:

Work for me.

Be fun.

Not be painful/awkward….

Having said that, I did get some good advice today from one of the Chamber veteran’s that his approach was to use the networking meetings just to meet people and extend his relationships and NOT to do any business.  Now it sounds counterintuitive but I think he’s on the right path.  Until people know, like and trust you they’re not going to do business with you anyway.  And the path to Know, Like and Trust can be a long one (likely several months long).

So my approach going forward is to be friendly, be approachable, try to be somebody’s first friend (as suggested by Scott Ginsberg here: especially once I’m not the new guy).

On top of that, I want to set a goal to identify at least 2 people I could contact after the meeting with the intent to meet them 1 on 1 at some later date.  I think that’s going to be the best way to move from Know to Like and hopefully on to Trust.

So what about you?  Any strategies for succeeding at Chamber meetings?  Share them here.