As someone working in business, you no doubt spend a significant amount of your time out networking in a variety of groups and clubs.

Networking is a key aspect of your marketing strategy in developing new business.

Here are 7 tips to ensure this time is spent as effectively as possible in pro-actively building successful relationships and generating business.

1. Positivity

Approach your networking with enthusiasm. You need to be out there selling yourself and your business with enthusiasm and with a positive attitude. This all starts with a smile and a warm handshake.

2. Awareness

Listen out for and take advantage of every opportunity. This is key at networking events, but it should be a part of every moment you are engaged in conversation with anyone about your business or their business.

3. Helpfulness

Look for opportunities to help others in whatever way you can. Enjoy helping others succeed. If you have looked intothe area of social influence, you will be aware that reciprocation is a very powerful force in relationships and you will find that helping others will ultimately come back to you and your business in positive ways.

4. Gratitude

Express your thanks for anything and everything that people do for you – big and small. This is probably the most important thing you can do to develop your business relationships and it is the most simple.

5. Sincerity

Be sincere in everything you do. When you are speaking with someone, face to face or on the phone, give them your attention and be engaged and interested.

6. Trustworthiness

When someone gives you a business contact or refers you a piece of business, ensure you treat this in the most professional way possible. Trust can take a long time to build but only an instant to destroy. Continually work on building the trust of others and earn this.

7. Commitment

Don’t just come away from an event with a pile of business cards and a belly full of food from the buffet. Manage and develop the contacts you have made. Follow up after the event by making calls to relevant people, meeting key contacts again, building your database of contacts and keeping in regular contact with the people you have met.

Networking is a long term game and you really need to nurture your relationships as part of a long term strategy.