I love this topic, I speak on how to network, probably 3-4 times a year, if not more. Even the most seasoned networker can get something out of taking time to reflect on what they are doing and why! I even learn in my sessions from the suggestions and interactions with others.
Here are my top 8 tips on how to get the most out of your networking:
1. Remember that networking is not selling.
You are building relationships…this can take on average 12-18 months, depending on how much effort you put into it. The more you put into it, the more you will get out of it!
2. Consider if you actually like networking
If not, that’s ok, maybe it isn’t the tool for you. There are loads of other ways to contribute to the marketing and Business Development efforts of your business, such as writing blogs, getting active on social media etc.
3. Know who you want to meet
Have a plan of who you want to meet and then find out what events these people go to. Don’t be put off by thinking there is ‘no one interesting here for me’. You never know who people know….
4. Work out at what time of the day you are most productive
I am a morning person and there is no point in me trying to be otherwise. You might on occasion see me at evening events – so if you do, be kind as it is not me at my best!
5. Consider how much time you can commit to networking
There is no point carving out an hour or two to attend an event if you are rushing there and leaving early, or if you have no time to prepare or follow up…
6. Prepare before the event
This is key! Have a look at who else is attending, plan where you are going and connect with the attendees ahead of the event. Do you have a pitch? It’s good to prepare a 60 second elevator pitch to spark interest in what you do.
7. At the event
If you don’t know anyone, ask the organiser for introductions to the people you have identified that you want to meet. Work the room to meet a range of people but be kind…don’t just abandon others. If you’d like some tricks on how to move on to another person, just give me a call. Remember that you are there to network so be interested and interesting – I like to call this channelling you inner hairdresser. It’s not all business; kids, family, holidays and travel are all up for conversation. Remember you are building a relationship – get to know people.
8. ….and Follow Up
You have spent your time and money to go to the networking event. Why would you not follow up? At the very least, connect on LinkedIn.
I hope the above short guide is helpful, it is a condensed version of a 1-hour seminar that I offer and am happy to deliver in house to teams….if you want to ask me more about any of the points just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org