We all network, in some way, whether it’s a chat down the supermarket or at the football match, at the hairdressers, having a coffee etc. And we network for different reasons. 10 tips or suggestions here.
1. Be passionate – about yourself, your work and the company you represent
2. Set a goal – i.e. plan and prepare before attending events. Ask yourself what do you want to achieve from this event?
3. Don’t butt in on other people’s conversations. If someone is deep in conversation hover respectfully then say ‘Hi, I am or I’d like to meet you.’
4. Don’t think ‘What’s in it for me’ but ‘what’s in it for the other person, who might you connect them with?’
5. Follow up to build trust, do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’ll do it
6. Don’t hear ‘no’ only ‘not yet’ – spot opportunities for the future. 7. Be patient – it takes time to build relationships and let people to do business with you.
8. Ask open questions – by doing this you get better answers and create more business opportunities. Listen actively – we learn nothing by talking, only by listening. Know when to talk, when to listen.
9. Don’t use 50 shades of ‘really’. Indicate sincere interest or make a plausible excuse to move on. Sadly some people are boring, only interested in themselves, or just rude and bear in mind some people are new to this networking and are nervous which makes them all of the aforementioned.
10. Enjoy yourself. If you don’t, think about what was going on. Take a fly on the wall position. Was it the venue? Was it the format? What was it? Next time, do something different or try out a different format. Or network online and then meet individuals in a safe and public place for one to one networking.
I was at an event not long ago, where a guy told me what he did and said ‘I don’t suppose you’d be interested in what I do.’ Aha I thought’ really? How do you know?’ I then asked him if he could recommend someone to me who would provide a certain service based on what he had said, he replied ‘oh all the guys I know would be too busy, look in yellow pages’. There ended the conversation.
I would also like to add something one of my associates said too me once ‘if you network and hand your card to people, then expect them to contact you and when they do be respectful, throwing your toys out the pram because you’re on someone’s mailing list could potentially lose you a referral or future business’. Otherwise in the words of Daniel Priestley all you have done is collected a heap of business cards; you need to make networking work.
If you want help or ideas on language to get other people to understand you better or for you to understand them better, or help on confidence or presenting yourself to others – please contact us 01309 676004, 01224 900748, 07796 134081. http://www.developingworks.com