Our Top Ten Networking Tips
Networking can be an essential way of building brand awareness and meeting new contacts, whether you are starting out or well established in business.
We have selected a few different scenarios and tips that we hope will make your networking more enjoyable and effective.
Do you arrive at events hot and flustered only to find that everyone else is deep in conversation?
Try to arrive early by allowing yourself time for traffic or travel delays. If you are travelling by car, if you arrive before the car park fills up you won't be left with just the awkward place that is difficult to manoeuvre into. You will have time to compose yourself and it will be much easier to instigate conversations with other fellow networkers as they arrive.
Remember your networking essentials: your cards, a pen and a smile.
If you do forget your cards, don't panic but make sure that you collect cards from those that you are speaking to so that you can contact them after the event.
Write useful notes on cards that you have received.
Reveal a genuine smile
, not an insincere fake one; it says so much!
Are networking events not working for you as you spend all your time speaking to the same people?
Whilst it is important to reconnect with your contacts, don't do so at the risk of not making new connections. Make sure that you make the effort to speak to those new people.
Try to "mix and match" your events; leave your comfort zone and attend events that are new to you. Consider industry specific events, local networking events, speed networking events and trade shows to spread your wings.
Do consider the image that you are portraying of your company.
Apart from the obvious (being friendly, courteous, organised, and polite but firm), also consider the not so obvious.
Avoid taking selfies
, unless your business does not wish customers to be the centre of attention. The person taking the photo tends to dominate selfies and anyone else in the photo is just an extra.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and it is something that we encourage. However, you must remember that you are representing your company and voicing your own opinions might have a detrimental impact on your business.
Don't introduce other attendees to each other under false pretences. Don't try to be clever and waste people's time.
Have you spotted a person standing on their own? Bring them into the conversation. You have no idea how your kindness could be repaid.
Guard information about your business.
Your market research has established that there is an opportunity for a new service you can fill, or you have a fantastic innovative idea
to prompt your business. Don't be fooled by fake smiles until you are ready to launch; protect your business
. Otherwise, you could find that your ideas are being used by competition who have been able to move quicker than you, and you have lost a potential revenue stream, or you are unable to use that idea as it is now considered old hat or plagiarism.
Do you attend networking events with friends and colleagues to help combat you nerves, and find you are not making new connections?
Even seasoned business people can find networking daunting, so it is natural that you want to build up a comfort zone around you. However, if you and your colleagues/friends remain together, other attendees at the event might find it more difficult to approach you and you are less likely to reach out and make the most of the networking opportunity. Have a pact in place so that you are not joined at the hip.
Don't attend networking events thinking what you can get out of them.
Instead, think about what you can give. Your conversations could reveal that you are able to give guidance on how to resolve a problem or make beneficial introductions. You might be looking for suppliers for now or the future, and a friendly helpul person with whom you have made a connection might just help with your decision making.
Have you found yourself avoiding a person at an event, as your instinct tells you that you have nothing in common?
Go on! Have a chat with them! You never know where the conversation will take you.
How many times have you been to an event only to discover that others are engrossed in their mobile devices?
Remember why you are at the event, and turn off your devices.
Do listen to the person speaking to you, and ask questions.
They will be thrilled that you have an interest in them. If you can drop their name in the conversation, they will be even more delighted.
Enjoy your networking experiences!
We hope you found this post useful.