Top 10 Networking Tips – the dos and don’ts
Top 10 networking tips – the dos and don’ts of a networking meeting.
But just what exactly is a networking meeting.
Well the definition is “to interact with others; to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.
Simple enough really then, it’s about communication, getting to know people and sharing information.
In a business context it develops into another sphere of know, like and trust.
So, we build relationships that enable us to get to know someone, get to like them (or not) and trust them to do the thing they say they do.
Networking is an art form though.
Here are Vicky’s top 10 tips to make your networking more effective
Top 10 Networking Tips the dos and don’ts
You can only be you and if you start building relationships being some one you are not, then the know, like and trust theory goes out of the window.
No-one can get to know, like and trust your alter ego.
Start from a point of giving
We are all in business to make money – whether that is the result or the vehicle for other things.
However, networking is not about meeting people and selling your stuff, thrusting business cards in their hands or going in with that “What’s in it for me mentality?”.
Networking is about building connections and relationships.
Think about how you can help others.
For example, who do you know that maybe is a useful connection to them?
Join a networking group that “feels right”
Experience several different sorts of networking groups before you decide which is right for you.
There are network groups that are very formal, very focused and work on a referral basis.
There are some that are more of a drop in, buy a cup of coffee and chat.
Some which have a structure but are a little more relaxed.
They vary in timings from very early mornings to evening and all times in between.
It’s worth considering all the factors to see which will work for you.
Make a commitment
Do not turn up at a networking event and expect to “do business” on week one.
Remember you need to build up the know, like and trust thing and you can’t possible do that on week one or even two or three.
So, you need to decide that you are in this networking game for the mid to long haul really make a commitment.
It’s not about who is in the room
I have seen lots of people visit a networking group and then decide not to join or come again because “There was no one in the room that I can do business with”.
Take out your phone, go to your contacts and see how many you have.
Just think every person in that room may have a similar number of contacts. Some of whom will be looking for the thing you sell or do.
Get on a team
If there is a voluntary team that lead the group, is there a vacancy? If so, could you commit to being more involved?
Being involved on a team raises your profile.
People in the network will get to know you and it is a great way off giving back to the network.
How may I help you?
A good question to ask of you fellow attendees BUT do have your answer ready for when asked the same question?
Be able to articulate what you are looking for and how others could help you.
When you have made your first or ongoing connections at the network meeting take some action when you get back to the office.
Send them an email to say it was great to connect and mention something they said (to show you were actually paying attention).
Connect them to someone who you think maybe a useful introduction.
If you said you would do something, now is the time to do it.
Do Not Sell
Share what you do, talk about the problems you help your clients solve. Share a testimonial – but do not assume everyone wants or needs your thing!
Concentrate on building that relationship and if they really do want your thing then they know exactly how to find you.
Talk about stuff
Getting to know someone does not revolve around business chatter. Get to know them personally,”out of work”. Where they are going on their holidays etc.
Talk about the small stuff. . . Find out what makes them tick and what floats their boat. . .
You never know what you may have in common.
Original by Vicky Stanton