How to Best Network

I met with a handful of NACC Members at our recurrent Coffee & Conversation program recently. We had a fantastic group conversation, it ebbed and flowed as group conversations tend to do, but we did spend a lot of time talking about networking. How to best network, and best utilize your NACC Membership. Here are 4 easy tips I took away from the conversation.

  1. Show Up First: The first is a tip that a mentor of mine shared: If you don’t know anyone at an event, or are an introvert and are nervous, be the first one to show up. If you are the first one to show up, other people must circle around you, and you are creating conversation first. It can be hard to walk in and break into a conversation that is happening, but if you are the first to show up, people start the conversation with you.
  2. Ask How You Can Help the Person You Met Achieve Their Goals: It’s the WIIFM principle (What’s in it for me?). Rather than going into a meeting wondering what you can take from the person, how about thinking about what you can give to them. If you can truly help someone by offering advice or making an introduction, be the person who is a connector and helps solidify relationships. You can also ask about a person’s personal life. We have really shifted away from work-life balance and into work-life integration. Everything is so interconnected, people enjoy not only talking about their business but their personal lives as well.  
  3. Follow-Up Right: Think about how you are following up. People tend to do business with people they have relationships with, and relationships aren’t always created by meeting one time. Follow up with a LinkedIn request, or a coffee request. Plant seeds to build a relationship. Great networking isn’t focused on the short-term, great networking is about making strong connections and focusing on long-term goals. The next time you see a person, try to remember one detail, even if it isn’t their name. If you can recall something, such as “how did xyz turn out for you?” This will show them the connection was meaningful to you. 
  4. Choose the Right Events, Focus On Organic Connections: Make sure you are attending the right events. Always work to set yourself up for success. Do you enjoy professional development topics? Make sure you attend events that truly interest you. Do you want to get out and see a certain business, or do you want to connect over food and drink? Read through the events offered to you and pick ones that are interesting to you, but also think about who is attending those events. Put yourself in a situation where it is easier for you to create a shared connection. For me, it is food. If there is food at an event, you will see me there, and often hanging out by the food table!  

Speaking of networking, we saw more than 450 of you networking away at our annual State of the City event. The event was a great success that would not have been possible without the support from the City of Naperville and the wonderful knowledge and presentation given to us by Mayor Steve Chirico. That isn’t our only Signature Event, we have some more coming your way. These are great opportunities to not only try out the networking tips but to share your tips with others as well – as a rising tide lifts all boats.

Friday, April 8 | NACC’s Annual Gala – It’s Magic (almost sold out!)

Join the NACC for a fun night, with casino games, a magic show, drinks, and of course, food (there is a live-action deep-fried cheesecake station!). Sitting next to someone at a blackjack table is a great way to start making those organic connections.

Find out more 

Tuesday, April 12 | Volunteer Week Kick-Off Event Solemn Oath to Volunteer (and t-shirt pick-up)

Join the NACC community at Solemn Oath Brewery for beer, tacos from Seoul Taco, and ice cream from Ben and Jerry’s. This FREE event, is not just about connections, but it is also about showcasing our Not-For-Profit Members. Grab a drink and some food and learn about ways to contribute through volunteerism in our community during our second annual Volunteer Week April 18th – 24th


These aren’t all of NACC’s opportunities to connect – we also have our monthly from Business After Hours, Business Power Hours, Lunch with a Leader, and many more. Bookmark to see all of our networking offerings easily.  

If you ever wonder what event would help you best reach your goals, you can contact our Director of Membership, Sarah Catarozzoli Andrusyna and she can walk you through a customized plan to help you get the best ROI out of your Membership. We have a diverse program of events for you to attend – and of course, gain those valuable connections. 

Thank you for your Membership and support. 

Business Forward – 


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