As we all know, it’s been quite a while since we’ve been able to network properly with our business associates and prospects. Now that events are making a return, we need to start brushing up on our networking skills again as, no doubt, we’ll all probably be a little rusty!
Attending a networking event is great for so many things; business exposure, new connections and contacts, referrals and many more business growth opportunities. If you’re a networking whizz, I’m sure you’ll agree that there is nothing worse than leaving a networking event feeling disappointed and as though you’ve wasted valuable time. Yet, on the other hand, there’s no better feeling than leaving happy and fulfilled that you’ve gained beneficial business leads and your time networking was worthwhile!
Networking can be a bit daunting (especially if it’s your first time!) so we’re bringing you some tips to make the process easier, fun and most importantly, a valuable use of your time!
Here are 10 simple yet successful networking tips:
Tip 1: Be polite and professional.
Networking is such an intimidating word, especially for beginners. But, when done well, it can be very relaxed. The best way to approach a conversation is to be comfortable, calm and kind. The most worthwhile networking happens organically, so just be yourself, and don’t be too full on. Demonstrating the right attitude is the best first impression you can give, and although you may be excited to impress the big fish, you want others to take you seriously. Presenting yourself in a genuine and professional manner will give off the best first impression!
Tip 2: The most successful networkers give more than they receive.
The people who usually leave feeling the most rewarded are those who attend with the goal to help others in the room, and not just themselves. People can tell straight away when your only motive is to help yourself, and it doesn’t look good. So attend these types of events with the intention to be helpful, generous, and build relationships, rather than self-serving. Generosity is an attractive quality and it’s something that people will remember about you.
Tip 3: It’s important to attend a networking event with a plan.
Networking is about really listening to others, figuring out what they need and connecting them with people you think can help, without any plans for personal gain. Be clear about what skills, strengths and connections you can share with others. Have a think about how you can help others, either right now, or in the future. Planning out your conversations ahead of time allows you to establish your professionalism, and cover all the topics you want to cover.
Tip 4: Be a good listener!
There’s nothing worse than when you’re speaking to someone and you can tell they’re not listening properly. It’s important to be able to offer fruitful advice or personal opinions when someone has asked for it, so listen carefully! This tip comes hand in hand with ensuring you you don’t do all the talking. You can give off the impression that you are uninterested in what others have to say, and leave people thinking you’re only attending for personal gain, which is not a good look.
Tip 5: Never ask for a job.
A myth some believe about attending a networking event is that it’s about asking everyone you know for a job. In fact, when you network, you should never ask someone for a job. If you’re on the hunt for a new role, a good way to find out about vacancies is to ask people for information that will help you in your job search. Your main goal should be to network with the aim to build strong relationships and establish rapport, so when possible job opportunities arise in the future, your new networks may be willing to refer you.
Tip 6: If you feel as though someone isn’t valuable to you, don’t dismiss them.
You should always try to find value in every person you speak to. Don’t dismiss a person just because of their title; you never know what they can bring to the table! Ask people questions and listen carefully. Someone may not be in a role that interests you or has anything to do with you, but they may have some really valuable connections or information that you couldn’t get from anyone else.
Tip 7: Don’t forget to follow up (you need your business cards for this)
This part is crucial to networking! What’s the point in having a really great conversation with someone and then forgetting to exchange contact details? When each conversation ends, remember what that person has to offer as you move to the next. You might want to take a small pad and pen to make any notes, so your future correspondence with every person you meet can have a personalised touch; and always close your conversations by saying something like, “If you need anything, please reach out to me on LinkedIn or email me” and hand over your business card.
Tip 8: Follow through on any promises made.
If you told someone you could help them and that you’d get in touch with them to pass on certain information, always be sure to do it! If you promised to introduce someone to a person you know, make sure you fulfil that promise. Ensuring you deliver on your promises will not only reinforce your rapport and relationships, but it can end up changing someone’s life for the better. Wouldn’t that be a great feeling, knowing you had a part in that?
Tip 9: Always Remember to Say Thank You.
Building relationships is about being genuine, caring, and helping one another out of the goodness of your own heart. A simple ‘Thank you’ goes a long way when a connection has passed on useful information, and you should always try to share any of your knowledge you feel would be useful for them in return.
Tip 10: Keep at it and don’t give up!
You may feel a bit deflated after some networking events, coming away with not a great deal more than you arrived with. But, don’t let that knock you! Networking is an ongoing process and requires persistence. If you incorporate networking into your routine; whether it be weekly, monthly or every 6 months, great opportunities are guaranteed to come your way, and you will soon build relationships that will last a lifetime.
When you believe that networking isn’t all about personal gain, and the true value lies in helping others, you’ll soon start to reap the benefits. So get out there, meet new people, but make sure you are following these tips to get the most out of networking events!
If you have any questions about planning an incredible event to create instrumental networking opportunities for yourself, your associates and your current network, get in touch! We can help you deliver a variety of different business events to grow your network and build valuable relationships.
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