Tag Team Networking -- A Highly Effective Strategy for Achieving Collaborative Networking Success

This is a strategy I use a lot, especially for evening networking events - "Go Tag Team!"
Yes, I often entice my husband to join me at networking events especially evenings when I'm tempted to opt-out and not attend.  This way I get there and it generally makes the evening more fun... and successful. 
Also, if you're a "nervous networker" or just new to the whole idea of networking and want a bit of moral support it's a great way to leverage any event. Either way, there are many benefits to approaching networking as a team project.
Here's how... 
1. Tag-Team Networking
If you want a change of pace from striking out on your own at a networking event, go with a friend, a colleague, an associate or even a client or supplier.
Remember to discuss ahead of time what or who is a good referral for each of you. Then seek out opportunities to introduce your friend to others. Make sure to praise their business virtues while making the introduction - something that most of us don't or can't do for ourselves.  Even if we could, it's not half as effective as if someone else does it for us.
Here's an example:  "Have you met my friend Bob? He's an amazing Chiropractor who works magic by quickly eliminating small back pain..."  Obviously, it's important that you can adequately describe each other's business in an engaging way.  
2.  Networking with Friends
There is an art to tag team networking.  Don't even think of falling into the trap of spending too much time together.  
For example, as tempting as it may be, if there's a meal, don't sit at the same table with your friends or business associates.  Or if you do, at least don't sit beside each other. 
Sitting with a few chairs between you or across the table from each other will help keep the focus on including others in your conversation. You can still tag team and talk up each other.  Make it clear to everybody else that they're welcome to join in -- encourage others to get involved in the conversation.
3.  Remember to Circulate 
You may be tag teaming, but don't hog your team partner.  Split up and circulate by yourself and let them do the same - you'll cover more ground this way.  Be sure not to get too involved in lengthy conversations with  one person, especially not the person you came with. 
At an event, you want to connect and share ideas, but you also need to make sure to move on. You'll get more from the event meeting several people briefly than from meeting just one person intensely --it's better to get their agreement for a follow-up conversation or meeting where you can get into greater details.
Finally, the best part is after the event -- sharing with you 'tag team' partner all the contacts and ideas you discovered while networking. Truly a great way to leverage time!