New to Networking? 10 Steps to Ensure You’re Making Long-Term Connections

What’s one step you can take to ensure you make long-lasting connections at networking events? Why is this a good tip for new entrepreneurs?

Making connections at a networking event

These answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invitation-only organization made up of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue annually and have created tens of thousands of jobs. More information at

1. Invite people to dinner

I think so often people go to networking events and see these new relationships as business. But some of the best business relationships blur the line into personal relationships. Consider inviting people to parties, events, dinners, etc., that are seemingly casual and friendly, and use some of that time to build a stronger relationship.

– Ryan D Matzner, fueled

2. Find common ground

The best way to build meaningful connections while attending networking events is to find common ground with the people around you. Business owners within the same industry often have conflicting views on how things should be. Instead of focusing on your differences, finding common ground can lead to productive conversations that ultimately lead to long-lasting partnerships and friendships.

– Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

3. Treat it like a normal conversation

Treat the networking event like a normal conversation. People can notice if you see them as a means to an end, which makes you come across as inauthentic and insincere. Don’t focus on what you want to get out of the interaction. Instead, focus on the humanity of the event. After all, successful companies don’t treat people as transactions; they treat people as valued human beings.

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– Shu Saito, fact retriever

4. Transition to social media

Immediately transfer these relationships to social media and LinkedIn. Ask to take out your phones and say something like, “Let’s follow each other so we can stay in touch after the event. Which social network do you use for networking?” It’s that simple. If you take the initiative first and follow or friend them and then engage with them, you have a much better chance of keeping the momentum going.

– Matthew Capala, Alphametic

Unconventional business networking

5. Add personalization

Adding personalization to your conversations goes far beyond putting on an act while talking to others. Calling someone by name shows that you are paying attention to them and want to hear what they have to say. Real actions make others want to do the same for you and keep the connection alive.

– Stephanie Wells, Formidable Shapes

6. Attend events often

It’s important to attend networking events as often as possible and increase the frequency with which you connect with your connections. As people see and talk to you more often, they develop a familiarity with you. This makes it easier for you to build long-lasting connections.

– Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

7. Find out how you can help

Invest some time in each of these connections and be helpful. Invite them to brunch and connect with them. Find out how you can help them and how they can help your business. Whether it’s giving referrals or doing business with them, helpfulness is key here. Also make sure you exchange contact information with the connections you want to stay in touch with.

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– John Rampton, Calendar

Participants in business networking events
photo credit: Sebastiaan ter Burg / Flickr

8. Learn to listen

If you want to make long-lasting connections at networking events, you have to learn to listen to other people. If you don’t give other people time to talk, you lose interest. In other words, have two-way conversations and ask questions. You will find that this will help you build meaningful connections in the long term.

– John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC

9. Research and prepare questions

Research who will be there and have a few questions ready to ask people about their business. They will remember you because you already know them and their work and will be happy to keep in touch. Introduce yourself, be friendly, get their contact details and then follow up, emphasizing that you enjoyed the conversation and would like to have a cup of coffee to discuss further about XYZ you discussed at the event.

– Emily Stallings, Casely, Inc.

10. Follow up with intention

Collect the business cards of the people you want to connect with. Then, about a week after the event, contact each person individually and briefly explain how you met at the event and were very impressed with their work (use an example). Then ask them if there is anything you can do for them, even if it is just an introduction to someone else. Just offer value. Dig the well before you get thirsty.

– John Murphy, eBike generation

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