Have you ever walked into a room filled with strangers with a pocket full of hope and business cards only to sneak out dejectedly after an hour or so still holding on to those cards?
As business owners, we know the value that effective networking brings to our business, and yet to some, there’s nothing quite as terrifying as striking a conversation with a complete stranger, much less pitching what you have to offer.
Scary or not, there are a lot of benefits that you can get out of networking. And so to make sure that you don’t miss out, we give you our tried-and-tested networking tips!
FIRST THINGS, FIRST
Before you attend networking events, you need to prepare and develop your business brand statement.
What’s a business brand statement? Simple. It’s a quick and yet clear description of what your business is, what’s unique about it, and what value it provides.
Next, you need to be ready to provide your business brand statement in a matter of minutes and deliver it in a way that’s easily remembered.
Other important things to take note of:
- Research and list down the people (or type of people) that you want to connect with.
- Connect with them via their groups or organisations.
- Choose the right networking opportunity.
DURING THE EVENT
This is it. You’re attending one of the biggest networking events you’ve ever been to. What do you do?
- Dress appropriately. When you look great, you’ll feel great. This event is an opportunity to present yourself in the best light possible.
- Don’t bring a friend. You’ll end up chatting with each other and missing out on the opportunities to connect with other networkers.
- Don’t wait for people to approach you.
- Be genuine and actively seek to engage and connect rather than pitch and sell.
- Listen to people and don’t make it all about you.
“I like to define networking as cultivating mutually beneficial, give-and-take, win-win relationships… The end result may be to develop a large and diverse group of people who will gladly and continually refer a lot of business to us, while we do the same for them.” – Bob Burg
AFTER THE EVENT
So what now? Well, this is actually one of the most important aspects of networking – follow-ups. You can stay in touch through the following:
- Send a follow-up email. It doesn’t have to be a long one. A simple “It was nice to meet you” would suffice.
- Connect with other networkers via Linkedin, email, and social media.
That’s it – our top tips for successful networking. Now go, you good thing!