Networking – Top Tips
In the changing world of business where more and more people work remotely or run their businesses from serviced office space, the value of networking opens up a world of opportunity.
Networking isn’t all about winning new business opportunities but sharing experiences and learning from like-minded individuals. Networking is the buzz word in the business community and in the last 2 decades many networks have opened up suited to SME’s and owner run businesses. The focus should be upon nurturing relationships rather than going in for the kill to try and win your next business opportunity – that said don’t stand in the corner and wait to be approached.
Choosing a Networking Group:
Local Business Community meetings tend to be held in informal settings and provide a greater opportunity to mingle and are short so don’t tend to impact on your working day, usually being breakfast events or drinks after work.
Subscription Based Groups:
These are more focused on creating sales opportunities and typically only have 1 member from each professional represented and often members are sole traders. Every event requires members to present for 1 minute on themselves or their business – it is a bit like speed networking.
Industry Based Seminars and Conferences are good learning, keeping you up to speed on changing practices and legislation. Use these for CPD and sharing knowledge with other professionals in your industry – there are always networking slots during the course of the event.
Research Before Attending Event
Always try and get hold of the delegate list and if there is someone you specifically want to connect with; speak to the organisers.
How To Introduce Yourself To A New Group
It is always good to try and get to the event 5 minutes early and introduce yourself to the organiser who will be able to introduce you to people as they arrive.
Make sure the name badge provided is pinned on the right – it will be in the line of site when you shake hands (top tip for women is – make sure you can clip a name badge to what you are wearing as more often than not the badge is clip not pin style). Body language is key – smiling makes you approachable. Be confident to introduce yourself but don’t dominate the conversation – listening and showing interest in what others have to say. Have something positive to say and try and keep your conversation associated to business for the most part and be aware of the body language of others in the group.