Networking is all about interacting with people to exchange information, build trust and long lasting relationships in order to develop professional or social contacts leading to additional business and opportunities.
Clearly, it is very important in the business world:
From gaining job opportunities to bringing in business for your company, networking is the key to success.
Dress smart and relevant for the event:
Turn up at events looking good. You only get one chance to make a first impression so make yours a good one.
Always be prepared with business cards:
Have your business cards with you all the time. You do not know who you might meet and when, so it is therefore important for you to have your business cards with you all the time, but even more so at Business Events.
Engage with others by asking them about themselves and then their business or businesses:
Ask people about themselves as a way of breaking the ice and then find out more about their businesses. People love talking about themselves so let them, and listen well to what they say and take an interest. They will help you to know areas to talk to them about of mutual interest and opportunity etc.
Have a clear and concise description of what you do and why it’s of benefit to others:
Sell the sizzle not the sausage. Tell people about what you do and what it can do to benefit them and make it short, clear and concise – like a 1 minute elevator pitch.
Don’t be afraid to tell people about your accomplishments:
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with bragging a little about your accomplishments or your company to get people interested. However, do not over do it as you don’t want to appear arrogant.
Network with everyone:
There is no need to discriminate when you network. Try to network with everyone and do not forget to be friendly. This will make everyone remember you for the right reasons. If you see people on their own introduce yourself to them and ask them about themselves.
Don’t judge people and be quick to make assumptions:
Never assume that your speaking to someone that you can’t do business with because maybe theirs not an instant fit. You don’t know who everyone else knows and you can often be surprised so get to know everyone, build relationships and see what becomes of those relationships over time. You might find that people can be very different to how they first appear when given time to get to know them.
Attend lots of Networking Events:
You can’t network if you are stuck in the house or the office. Attend industry and community events so that you can meet lots of people.
Make plans to follow up and then always follow up:
When you hand over your business card, ensure that it results in something concrete as a next step. Tell the person to call you on a particular date or you can tell them to expect your call. And ensure you call.p when you say that you will.
Use social media to stay in touch following the first meeting:
If you go business networking (and even if not) you should really be on all of the major social media platforms, and you should use them often, especially LinkedIn.
Network with everyone in your industry that you can, and post frequently so that you stay on everyone’s minds.
Following an event you should connect with your new contacts via as many social platforms as you can in order to stay in touch and to stay connected.