Expert Advice On Business Networking And Tips On Developing Your Networking Skills

Heidi Miller interview – Corporate Presenter, Trade Show Narrator, and Presentation Specialist

Heidi Miller is a product spokesperson who has been helping companies make the most of their trade show experiences for over nine years. She has logged thousands of hours in-booth at dozens of industry trade shows, giving effective presentations and orchestrating productive interactions for clients in industries as diverse as restaurant and food to radiology to manufacturing to graphics and printing.

As a former college professor, field sales representative, on-camera actor and software trainer, Ms. Miller has worked to create effective communications both inside and outside the booth.

I’m pleased to bring you the following networking advice from Heidi Miller…

Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?

Heidi Miller: “Business Networking” is just hanging out with people you think are cool, sharing your experiences and learning from theirs as well. It is not schmoozing, spraying your business cards around the room like confetti, or promising to “hook someone up” with a deal.

People tend to do business with people they know, like and trust, and networking is just a way to find the people that you’d like to hang out with.

Networking is important because… well, because that myth of the single entrepreneur building an empire alone is a MYTH. No one does it alone; we all have experts, advisors, friends, colleagues, brand ambassadors and clients who walk the road with us.

I mean, how likely is it that you have absolutely all the expertise you need to take your business where you want it to go? You may not, but others do. And you probably have some insight and expertise that they need to take their business to the next level. So why *wouldn’t* you share that knowledge?

Sure, you might be able to pass a lead on to someone and she may be able to pass one on to you, but to me the real value of networking is in the quality of the long-term relationships you can build over the years.

Josh: Can you share a couple of ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?

Heidi Miller: Some of the best networking advice I ever got was to be curious about people as *people.* Of course you need to take time to find out about his business needs, but I always find out more by asking, “How did you get into that?” This tends to uncover the person’s true passion and tells me so much more than “I’m a mortgage broker on the northwest side.” It gives me a chance to find out where she went to school, what kind of music she likes and who she is.

Another fun bit of advice I learned from networking guru Bob Burg is a great question to ask: “How do I know if someone I’m talking to is a good lead for you?” First, it’s almost always followed by a double-take and a thoughtful pause, maybe even a “no one has ever asked me that before!” So not only does this tend to up the perception of the asker in this situation, but it also gives the asker a better chance of actually being able to refer a lead or resource to the subject.

In short, it gives you a better chance of actually being able to make a connection and help your new networking buddy. That one question has garnered me more smiles, laughs and great conversations than any other I’ve ever asked!

-You can learn more about Heidi Miller at