Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Top networking tips

I've personally been networking for a few years now, so I'd like to think I've got a bit of experience in the field and of various networking groups, Now I often see networking faux pars so I thought I'd put this networking tips post up.

  • Don't expect anything. - This may sound like a strange one really, since we go to networking groups to get more business! The attitude you should enter any networking group or meeting with is that of making contacts to build relationships with and of how can you help people. I've met people over 5 years ago and it's only now that anything has come from it and not exactly how I would have thought either
  • Be yourself. - People buy from people so don't try and be something your not, people generally get an unconscious signal if you're being false, then they just won't trust you
  • Business cards are not confetti. - Forget just going to give out as many cards as you can or collect cards and add them to your email newsletter - It's just plain rude. Let me reiterate, networking is about building relationships
  • Make the most of it. - Get their early and stay to the last, I've often found the best conversations happen nearer to the end of a meeting, so I always stay as late as I can, this may mean leaving extra time in your diary after, so you're not anxious to get out
  • Ask open-ended questions. - So that the conversation isn't killed with a yes or no reply Such as questions that ask who, what, where, when, and how.  By using this it opens up the discussion and shows people you are talking to that you are interested in them
  • Don't dismiss anyone as irrelevant. - this has happened to me on a number of occasions, such as butting into a conversation between 2 people and taking it in a different direction so it excludes the 3rd person or asking for someones card and then giving it back because you know someone from their profession for example. It didn't make me feel good and one of them in particular, I could have passed business to, also you don't know who they know
  • Keep in touch. - Add them to you contacts database and follow them on twitter and linkedIn etc to continue building the relationship. Also make notes so you can follow up later, such as if you are talking about their next holiday note down where and when they are going, and bring it up next time you see them
  • Get involved. - Consider taking up a role in a networking group, it builds your profile rapidly.
  • Be Happy. - This is possibly the biggest tip and that's why I saved it until last and that is Smile, Nobody wants to talk to someone who looks miserable. 

Happy networking