Networking is an essential skill in business providing new contacts, sales leads and potential employment opportunities, but are you doing it successfully?
Networking is more than just introducing yourself and telling people what you ‘do’, it is connecting and interacting with people in a way that adds value to both your and their professional and/or personal development.
Five top tips to network more effectively:
•Be prepared. Seek events in your local area or online that are relevant to your business or industry. Research key people you wish to connect with and create a plan around what you wish to get out of the connection and what you can offer them.
•Avoid friends. Do not speak to people you know, your colleagues or the same people at every event you attend. What value is this offering to you and your business? Make an effort to meet new people and get outside your comfort zone. Challenge yourself to meet and exchange business cards with three new people at each event you attend.
•Give. Don’t make it only about you. Be prepared to share your knowledge, a great experience or a tip that can assist the person you are talking to. What better way to make a positive impression than to help a person with no expectation attached? Networking opportunities are not the place to make sales or close deals. Offer suggestions that are valuable to them, initiate a relationship and formulate future business opportunities.
•Don’t linger. Finished a conversation and exchanged business cards? Move on. Don’t stand around with the same person awkwardly. Use the valuable time to connect with other people who may be beneficial connections. If you notice a new face at an event or an old face you haven’t spoken to since an event six months ago? Go for it, make an effort and work the room.
•Follow up. Have you recently attended a networking event and have multiple business cards sitting on your desk or in your handbag? Get them out and send the person a short email stating that it was nice to meet them at the event and include a few lines on what you can help them with or thanking them for how they helped you. Don’t forget to send them a LinkedIn request including a short note, similar to the email contents.
The Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce host’s monthly networking events with a variety of guest presenters and we welcome anyone in business to attend.
We hope to see you at one of our events, utilising the above skills for the benefit of local business.