Networking …… hmmnn – this is something that most people love to hate and many have a totally wrong perception of exactly the purpose behind networking.
For a business owner, it should be a crucial part of their business growth strategy.
If done correctly, for the right reasons, networking with others can pay off huge dividends for you and your business in the long term.
Let’s face it, over the last few years, networking in general has been given a very bad rap and that purely because a few individuals have tarnished the purpose behind networking. They have created the impression that it’s something to be avoided at all costs and in some instances and some places, we tend to agree.
But, done correctly and for the right reasons, it becomes a hugely valuable tool in your business toolkit. We encourage you to look at networking rather as a form of a relational capital building, which in actual fact it is and don’t all business owners need more forms of capital in their business?
Using the techniques and tips below, you can become a “Networking/ Relational Capital Building” Rockstar, in no time at all.
1/. Refine your Introduction – 29 sec pitch.
When networking you have a limited time to really get your message across and grab somebody’s attention. This is why it’s crucial to package your intro/ 29 sec pitch to convey the most important points about who you are and what you do. Short and to the point is what you are aiming for. Always end the “pitch” with an open-ended question that will need a response from the other person.
2/. It’s all about them.
Although you want to build up connections with others, remember this process is not about you – it’s all about who you are speaking to at any given moment. Allow the other person to speak and share their message and don’t attempt to dominate the conversation. In this way, you show respect to them and get the opportunity to know what is important for them for future reference.
3/. Dress for Success.
At most “networking” meetings/sessions, the dress code is professional. Show respect to the organisers and fellow attendees by adhering to the dress code and dress to impress. This does not mean over the top type dressing, but ensure your clothes are clean, neat and tidy. Polish your shoes and straighten your tie, if you are a man. Ladies, this is not the cocktail hour, so dress appropriately but retain your femininity. Ensure your hair and makeup are in place and be yourself.
4/. Listen and pay attention.
The key to building any relationship is having the ability to really listen to people and pay attention to what is not being said and their body language. Sometimes, just being the observer and listening to the conversations around you, you pick up far more information about the people you actually want to build relationships with than if you were actually taking part in the conversation. many times having the ability to really listen will set you apart from others in the room and this will be noticed and appreciated.
5/. Add value to others.
Most importantly, always, always add more value to others than you expect to get back – ever. By adding value and supporting others in achieving their vision, once again you stand out from the crowd and others will want to engage with you purely for this reason. People, as a rule, today are all about “what’s in it for me ” than “what can I do for you”.
When you add value to others first, then when you need something from them, it becomes almost a no-brainer for them to help you. It’s one of the most powerful concepts in networking to building lasting powerful relationships.
6/. The power of follow-up.
Lastly, always make the effort to reach out and contact the people that you have met in the next 24 hours, even if it’s only to thank them for their time and having the pleasure of meeting them at the networking. People today no longer appreciate the power of saying thank you. Remember time is precious to all and if somebody blessed you with their time, the least you can do is say thank you. You will be remembered, that I can assure you.
7/. Join us at one of our events!
The Big Business Events ‘How To Make It Big In Business‘ evenings offer the perfect environment for networking. These events are free – all you need to do is reserve your seat, and include a free Champagne reception. The networking element of our events includes over 100 business owners and is always a popular activity with our delegates.