Many people ask me if I believe networking can be an effective way to build a business. The answer is yes . . . however you must be there for the right reasons, with an intention and be there often.
The following 3 key points can support you build your business through effective networking.
1. Know your intention:
Be very clear on why you are networking. Be clear on the type of networking event that will suit your business. If you are a network newby, or for some reason you are not sure what type of event to attend, try a few different events and get a feel for what is right for you.
Ask yourself before you arrive at the event what it is you are seeking by spending your time at this event. Remind yourself that this is your opportunity for others to see you, see your passion and see your confidence.
Set a clear objective to speak to and connect with x number of people. To collect x number of business cards – or at least get a phone number or email, or take it a little further and collect fb and website details.
If it is a small networking event say 30 people, I suggest 3 or 4 great connections would be perfect.
The purpose of networking is to connect. Seriously connect. Connect with your eyes, your body language and your language. Be prepared with some questions. Mingle and be social. Learn to be confident to walk up to a group of people talking and also learn the art of leaving a group to move on and connect with another group.
I have attended networking events without business cards. So, I collected cards instead and made it quite clear to the person I would email them that evening or at the latest the next day. It is imperative to follow up. Do exactly what ever you said you would do within the timeframe you mentioned. This is potential business. It may not be with the person you have connected with, it could be that they refer you to someone else. So, give a great impression.
The very best way to answer when someone asks what it is you do, or what is your business – answer with the WHY! When you tell people why you do what you do, you will absolutely show the passion you have for your business. A great way to start out a conversation.
Practice listening. Show your interest by listening to every word that is being said. Good listening is a skill and takes practice. Ask questions and listen to the answers with enthusiasm.
And the 3 key points again –
- Know your intention
And more points to remember –
- If you are nervous – pretend to be confident
- Practice your WHY prior to the event
- Have fun!!
To your success!