Networking. It’s one of your organization’s most valuable offerings. But while some of your members might be stellar networkers, others, such as your younger, less experienced members, might not know how to capitalize on this offering.

You might be wondering, “So what? How does that really affect me?” Well, if your members don’t see the value in networking, they’re likely to leave your organization over time. So to help these emerging professionals make the most out of your association’s networking opportunities, try passing along these five tips:

1. Have a goal in mind

In order to be a successful networker, you need to have a specific goal in mind. Are you looking to find friends? Make business connections? Meet your next boss? Whatever it is, make sure it’s defined upfront, as methods of interacting will vary depending on your goal.

2. Have an elevator speech prepared

Before attending a networking event, consider how you will introduce yourself to people. Your introduction doesn’t need to be anything long – just something brief that communicates who you are and what you’re looking for.

3. Remember your cards

You’d be surprised at how many people forget their business cards at networking events. This is how people will contact you in the future so please, please, please come prepared!

4. Invest in conversation

Nothing stands out more than a good conversation. People will remember it and, more importantly, equate it with intelligence and compatibility. That being said, take time to actually talk with people, rather than just dropping off your business card and running away.

5. Follow up with people

You pay money to go to an event, you meet several people and make a good impression, and then…nothing. If you really want your networking efforts to be a success, you must follow up with people after an event. Sure, email communication is fine, but handwritten notes are always better.

Remember, the more valuable your members find your organization, the more likely they are to stay. For more tips on member retention, download our free member retention guide below.