Networking is an excellent tool for growing your business
Networking is important to growing a successful business. While networking may feel like walking into a room full of strangers, you’ll quickly find that you’re among friends.
Use these 5 tips to get the most from your networking event:
- Arrive Early
Arriving at a networking event early makes it easier to strike up a one on one conversation with other as they arrive. Greeting other attendees as they arrive also helps reinforce a strong, memorable first impression before the event gets crowded 1.
- Be Authentic
You cannot fake authenticity, just be yourself. Being authentic and interested in meeting new people at networking events builds connections that you’ll stay in touch with 2.
- Don’t Be Sales-y
Networking is about building a relationship. Ditch your sales pitch. A well crafted elevator pitch is all you ‘ll need to introduce yourself. You’re trying to get the conversation started, make an opportunity for them to ask you questions 3.
- Build Your Reputation
Building your reputation takes time. A good reputation begins with consistency and participation. Make yourself an asset to your new connections. A helpful connection is a connection that is easily remembered when it matters most.
The next step after meeting a new connection is to follow-up. Extend an invitation to get to know each other over coffee or a phone call. Ask how you can be an asset to them.
Before Attending Your Next Event
Networking is about building the partnerships you need to grow a successful business. Finding the meetings and groups that you work best with can take some time. Do your homework, most networking groups have a website or social media page where you can learn about them and how to visit or become a member.
While there are networking groups with both a free and paid membership, there is no easy way to say if a particular group will work for you. The best advice is to check out what’s available in your area and check out different groups until you find one that works for you.
Make Sure You’re Prepared
Preparing for a networking event is important but easy. Arriving to a networking event prepared will help make you appear more professional and serious about growing your business. Here are a few things to bring with you to your next event:
- Business Cards
Bringing enough business cards to your networking event is a no brainer. How can somebody follow-up with you if they don’t know how to get in touch? While forgetting something from time to time happens, you can prevent not having any business cards by stashing a stack in your car or bag.
- Revise & Rehearse Your Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch is simply your short introduction. Your elevator pitch should take about 30 seconds (just enough time to take an elevator ride) and intrigue your audience to want to know more about you. Don’t make your elevator pitch about what you do, make it about how you help your customers.
- Bring Your Calendar
Make sure you’ve bought your calendar with you! There easiest way to manage your calendar is electronically via Google or Microsoft Office 365 but, if you use a physical calendar or date book, bring it with you. Effective networkers like to schedule follow-ups before they leave the event!
Be Patient, Networking Takes Time
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results right away. Building a relationship or partnership takes time. People like doing business with someone they know, like and trust.
Participating in discussion and making introductions from your contacts will help you make sure that you become a valuable part of the group.
1 10 Networking Tips For People Who Hate Networking, HowStuffWorks.com Contributors: Retreived May 1, 2018 from https://money.howstuffworks.com/business/professional-development/10-networking-tips-people-hate-networking.htm/printable
2 17 Tips To Survive Your Next Networking Event, YEC Women: Retreived May 1, 2018 from https://www.forbes.com/sites/yec/2014/07/22/17-tips-to-survive-your-next-networking-event/#11592287cd4b
3 7 Tips For Networking, Colleen DeBaise: Retrieved May 1, 2018 from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/223468