How to network effectively
These are a few ideas I found on-line – i hope you find them useful
Establish your goals
What do you want to get out of your networking? New business? An enhanced reputation? New suppliers? Clearly define what you want and the process will be a lot smoother.
Never fail to follow up a lead
It can be a long time before a deal comes to fruition but it could be the biggest of your career. And remember, you might not need someone’s services at the moment but who’s to say if you won’t a few years down the line? You don’t know how valuable they may be in the future.
Make sure you ‘elevator pitch’
Learn to sum up your business in the time it takes to complete an elevator ride. If you can concisely state what you do in 30 seconds you can get your point across to the person you’re talking to without boring them or being pushy.
Research the event
Try and get hold of the guest list as you can pick the people you want to see. The internet is a useful tool because you can find photos, the state their business is in and it could even give you their interests and therefore something to talk about.
Use existing friends
Ask someone you know to introduce you to their circle or take you to an event they’re attending. A recommendation from a trusted associate is a very powerful thing.
If you’re recommended don’t over-sell and under-deliver
Some people can get caught up in the moment and say whatever they think they need to say to get the deal or the trust of the person they’re dealing with. If you then can’t deliver on that promise it is reputational suicide.
Don’t trash the opposition
It’s seen as unprofessional.
Don’t be pushy
Once you’ve done your bit stop talking about yourself and listen. It’s rare to be listened to with another person’s full attention and it’s an enormous compliment. It’s about engaging the other person and establishing a rapport but this is hard to do if you’re droning on about your firm’s latest success without pausing for breath.
It takes time to build a network
People often don’t understand how much work it takes. It is a difficult thing to manage but the results are worth it. Turn up to a range of events to get the feel of them. It will give you an idea of how you want to promote yourself and your business.
You’re not alone
It’s tempting to think everyone else is a networking expert but they may be just as unsure as you are. If you go and chat to the awkward-looking person in the corner or introduce them to some people you may earn their undying gratitude!
Relax and enjoy yourself
There is no point in trying too hard. If you relax and be yourself instead of trying to project an image then you won’t get frustrated and anxious. It’s very possible that you will make some lifelong friends as a result of networking.