Networking tips and tricks…
Networking tips and tricks
Networking seems to come so naturally to some people…they breeze into a room, chat away and leave with a pocket full of business cards.
BUT for newcomers, or those who are perhaps a bit more introverted, attending an event can be a daunting prospect.
There’s no doubt that networking is a powerful marketing tool; one that we would highly recommend. So, with that in mind, here are our tips and tricks for effective and fearless networking…
- Try some events out
When you’re new to networking, it’s worth trying out a few different events to see which format you like, and which attract the kind of people you’re hoping to meet…basically which ones suit you best. To find networking events try browsing Eventbrite, speaking to local business organisations, or asking your contacts if they go to any that they would recommend.
- Don’t go it alone
If you’re worried about not knowing anyone, find a group that one of your existing contacts goes to/is a member of. Most people will be delighted for you to go as their guest and will introduce you to other attendees.
If this isn’t possible, try speaking to the event organiser/host before you attend. They will understand your position and will help to make you feel welcome and part of the group.
- Don’t be afraid to join in
It can feel difficult to infiltrate a group of people mid-conversation BUT remember, those people are there to meet others, so they won’t be upset or offended if you join their conversation. In most cases, they will welcome the chance to chat to someone new.
The way you engage is vital when you’re looking to make a good impression. Without wishing to sound patronising…shake hands with the people that you meet, listen carefully to what they have to say, nod your head encouragingly, and maintain eye contact.
- Two-way relationships
Don’t go in with a hard-sell approach. Ask questions; find out how you might be able to help the people you meet (not just how they can help you). If you are willing to share your contacts and resources, others will be more likely to return the favour.
- Quality, not quantity
Don’t try to meet as many people as possible in a room…focus instead on making a few good connections. Aim to have meaningful conversations with those few, rather than lots of fleeting (and easily forgotten) chats.
- Don’t spread yourself too thinly
When you’ve tried out different events and have found your networking feet, it’s worth whittling your choices down to a select few, and then putting your focus and energy into those groups.
The aim is to become a regular face and a trusted contact. As relationships grow, you’ll notice more referrals coming your way.
- And finally,
A simple (but effective) piece of advice: Don’t forget your business cards!
Now, if you’re ready and eager to build your contacts through networking, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’ve been through all the above, and would be delighted to introduce you to/recommend some great events.
Till next time!