Hi, it’s Robin Samora with the Fast Marketing Minute. I’m your Marketing and PR expert here to grow your business and brand.

Are you dreading networking events, because you’re not getting much from them?  Stop going in blind. Be clear on what you’re looking for.

First, make a list of qualities and skills you admire most in other professionals. Keep that list in mind when you strike up a conversation. If your boxes are getting checked, keep talking. If they aren’t, politely exit the conversation. Learn the Art of the Exit, because you have to spend your time wisely.

On the same note, make a list of red flags you want to avoid — like the plague. There are words or phrases you’ll hear that automatically make that person a definite NO. For example, when I hear “what’s in it for me” or “can you get me a job” in the first minute, I might lose interest and move on.

Let’s look at the time you spend time driving to and from meetings, and if you’re making the most of the event, preparing. Who’s going to be there, who can I meet? Figure out what you’re looking for and possible synergies. It’s always about the connection. With colleagues in your industry, aligning industries, and newcomers from completely different fields. It’s also interestsing to chat it up with competitors. Listen and you’ll learn alot.

As always, networking relationships should be give and take. How can you help other people without them asking? What value can you provide as an expert others look up to? It goes without saying to stay up-to-date so you can offer fresh, inspiring advice.

This is Robin Samora with the Fast Marketing Minute. Networking is important online as well as offline. Connect with me on LinkedIn @RobinSamora . Just let me know you’re from the Fast Marketing Minute so I know who you are. Talk tomorrow!