Sidney Halpern, Chartered Accountant, Winnipeg, MB, CYBF Mentor

When it comes to networking, I have discovered these important elements in achieving success in both business and my personal life:

Making personal face-to-face contact, and eye contact, is the most effective means of networking properly so one can truly absorb what is being communicated. Social media is great for keeping connected to your network, communicating ideas and generating suggestions, but these should be followed up by personal contact, for which I have not found a better substitute.

Determining the performance record of the people you are networking with in order to determine the validity of the ideas being disseminated is always paramount. Always try to network with people who have achieved success, whatever your personal definition may entail, since you can always learn from the experiences of others.

If follow-ups are warranted, it is best to ensure the invitation for the follow-up is done by telephone versus email, since it adds that personal touch to your encounters. In preparation, make sure you have your objective clearly defined and preferably written down for your quick reference.  Have a specific objective and your personal goal of the outcome defined in your mind, so that the subsequent conversation is structured to that end result. Bear in mind that your goal should be clearly stated in the first 60 seconds (the elevator pitch) so that your intention is clear and brought to the forefront.

These elements are a great start to successful networking and have been effective in my life. I encourage you to explore them in your future networking experiences.

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