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In today’s era, we can reach the masses via a few simple buttons from our phones. It makes connecting with people, building audiences, and growing a business easier and more scalable. But these methods have grown and become more popular, the grassroots strategies are being dismissed.

Have you ever considered how impactful a face-to-face interaction is to you and your business? If you haven’t, I’ll let you in on a little secret — those in-person interactions will ALWAYS trump an email, private message or text.

Which is why leveraging your local community is SO important to business growth. It gives you the opportunity to GET KNOWN in a smaller vicinity (compared to the online world) and allows you to step up as a leader in your community.

Local networking should be a part of your growth strategy, but ONLY if you do it the right way. Here’s four tips to improving your local networking game;

DRESS THE PART

This is sometimes overlooked, and not stated enough, because it can be one of those “material” pieces of advice, but it is what it is. Because first impressions are EVERYTHING, it’s important to dress like the successful professional you want to be perceived as. If possible, have a general understanding of the dress attire for the networking event you are attending and slightly OVERdress.

COME TO SERVE

Ditch the traditional methods of networking (AKA – show up, hand out a bunch of business cards, and wait for people to call you) and adjust your mindset. If you want to establish yourself in the community and get known for what you do, the easiest and most simple thing you can do is to become  the “connector” in your community. This means showing up to events, truly getting to know people by being curious and asking questions, and always be thinking of ways to connect them with other people, resources or tools (even if it has nothing to do with you). The traditional way of networking is focused on YOU; the servant (and NEW) way of networking is focused on THEM.

GET CLEAR ON YOUR MISSION

You only have a few moments to capture someone’s attention. When you’re asked, “What do you do?” — can you answer it in ONE sentence? There’s nothing more boring (no offense) than someone rambling on about what they do(ish) and the ambiguity around it. So, if you want people to think of you when they think of your industry, get crystal clear on what you do, who you serve, and how you help them in ONE sentence. Hint: this becomes your mission statement.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

No matter how what you’re industry is, it’s really important to adjust your messaging to your audience. Each group or event you attend, you have to be able to read and know your audience. This could mean tweaking your mission statement slightly to ensure that it’s applicable. It may also mean that you’re changing the verbiage so that it’s easier to understand or more pertinent. Make it a point to ask questions or do research on the type of people you’ll be networking with so that you can come better come prepared to serve them.

It’s mandatory that one of your business growth strategies includes local networking. As a result of stepping up as the leader in your community, you’ll build a more engaged audience, make a bigger impact and make a bigger income.