Business networking can be one of those things that feels really tough to do. You walk into the room and there is no one there that you know and it almost feels like everyone wants to gobble you up as the newbie in the room. They are so used to seeing each other that any visitor that comes in is jumped on as though you are the savior of their business.
The problem is that you feel exactly the same way. You may be scared of turning up but now you have found the courage to arrive, you want to ensure you get as much business from it as possible so you may be the piranha, if you are not paying attention to yourself.
Instead, consider these three ideas to help you make the most of networking.
1. Have your introduction planned
You may have heard this a thousand times before but do tell me, do you know your response to ‘What do you do?’. Can you stand up now and give a 60 second introduction to you and your business or would you just be flying by the seat of your pants? Before you go to an even, take the time to get ready and plan your 40-60 second introduction. Make it compelling, make it friendly and keep it simple so that no one switches off when listening to you. Start with a question to get your listeners engaged. Also, have an introduction planned for when you are speaking to someone on a one-to-one basis and they ask you what you do. Have a more personable speech for that event as well.
2. Be Genuine
Lots of people turn up at these events trying to appear bigger than they are. Talking to people like this is quite disconcerting as something does not ring quite true and also, you can see their eyes darting around the room looking for someone more prestigious than you to speak to. Do not be that person. Be real, be authentic and care about the person in front of you. Be determined to pay attention and listen intently. Yes you are in the event to meet as many people as possible but do not switch off being human while making that happen.
3. Don’t bother with the Business cards unless…
Getting a hundred business cards in this day and age is just a waste of the trees. Unless, someone has no social media presence, do not collect their business card. Instead, connect with them there and then on your tablet and/or smartphone. You know those cards are going to end up in the bin so why bother. Make the connection online immediately and if they only have an email address, enter it to your contacts and send them a quick email to touch base with them. Of course, whatever you choose to do in order to stay in touch with them, make sure you actually follow up with a quick ‘Hello’ message and if they do seem like a likely candidate for your business, arrange to meet up again away from the event. This also means that by the next time you walk into that networking event, you know someone and can connect with them.
Good networking is all about good business. Click here for more good business tips.