Be prepared.

Take plenty of business cards and go with goals you set for each event. At a mixer, for example, be sure to talk to ten new guests. At a business lunch, provide appropriate and helpful information to four people. At a trade show, find twenty-five qualified prospects, add two hundred individuals to your permission-based mailing list, and discuss a joint venture with one other vendor.

Be a giver.

Share interesting information, low- cost solutions to problems, links to outstanding Web resources, productivity tips, and technology tools. Give referrals and recommendations. Offer to make introductions. Be generous and give more than you take.

Be a connector.

Ask others what they need. Be ready to refer someone you meet to someone you already know who provides their desired product or service. You can also ask, “Who is your ideal client?” and make introductions.

Be a relationship-builder.

It’s hard to know how to give or who to connect if you haven’t taken the time to build relationships. Take the time and effort required to get to know people. Find out about their interests, education, and what they love best. Use these connection points to follow up with a note, information they may find interesting, or an introduction to someone else.

Be exemplary.

Treat others as you would like to be treated. Show up on time for events. Be timely with follow-up phone calls and promised information. Don’t interrupt. Do what you promise. If you can’t make good on a promise, take responsibility and avoid placing blame.

Be a good listener.

Be attentive and engaged instead of rehearsing your next speech while pretending to listen. Ask leading questions that make it easy for others to share their goals, interests, and needs. Ask clarifying questions to increase your understanding and ability to give and connect.

Be thankful.

Thank people for their time, their ideas, their contributions to your success, their kind words, recommendations and referrals. Don’t limit yourself to a quick verbal thank you. Send a handwritten thank you note or express your thanks with a gift, extra service, or a donation to their favorite charity.

Step out of the spotlight and make others feel more comfortable and trusting in your presence with these seven other-centered networking strategies. Prepare, give, connect, build relationships, treat others well, listen, and give thanks. Now go network like a pro.

Debbie Lynn Butler wants you to do what you love best. Let a virtual assistant from AVA Professional Support Services do the rest. Get free tips and tools for making the most of your time and resources at http://avapss.net/vatip.aspx Receive our latest business-boosting ideas when you sign up for our newsletter.