In our last blog we talked about the importance of networking as a cost effective and valuable marketing technique. We’d like to now go a bit deeper into this topic and offer some tips on how to make networking events successful for you.
1. Get into a Networking mindset
Before you even start networking it’s a good idea to make sure you are in the right mindset. Networking is not the sort of thing that comes naturally to all people. If this is you, then you’ll need to step up, face your fear and approach it head on. With practice and in time it will become easier and the benefits will be worth it.
2. Present yourself well
It’s important to present yourself well to make a great first impression. At face-to-face events, dress well, practice and refine how you speak, make eye contact and generally present yourself to impress others with your professionalism.
It’s important to interact, not just impose yourself on others. If you view business networking simply as an opportunity to talk about yourself and your business, you’ll bore and irritate others. It’s better to carefully limit how much you talk, and increase the time you listen to and interact with others in the group.
4. Be Prepared with an ‘Elevator Pitch’
If business networking doesn’t come naturally to you then one of the best ways to ease anxiety is to prepare an “elevator pitch”. An elevator pitch is a short description of what you do and the value you offer to your clients. The goal is to be able to deliver this “pitch” (the length of an elevator ride) concisely and in a conversational way.
5. Be Selective
There may be many networking events to choose from. By going to all or too many events you run the risk of spreading yourself too thinly and failing to capitalise on any one opportunity. Identify and act on the highest value opportunities rather than pitching to every possible audience at every business networking event.
6. Help others
While your ultimate goal may be to gain new clients and improve your own business situation, you may also be in a position to help others. Offer whatever resources and help you can to others such as advice, contacts or leads in order to increase your value to the business network as a whole. This kind of selfless participation will, over time, eventually work to your advantage.
7. Have fun and relax
The best way to network is to be unaware of the fact that you are networking at all. Don’t get hung up on the fact that you are at a networking event and need to walk away each time with results. Some events will yield better results than others, and sometimes the results won’t be immediately obvious. Try and lose yourself in the moment, relax and enjoy yourself. It will be more fun and ultimately this approach should be more successful for you.
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