Business networking provides a platform to meet like-minded individuals, build relationships and get to know other businesses. Below are our top 10 tips to bear in mind, no matter what the event is, that will help make it more successful for you.
Choose the right event for you
Your time is valuable, so make the most of it by going to networking events that are suitable for your business.
Always be prepared
Prior to the event ensure you are aware of the event theme and who the key speakers are. Make sure you take enough business cards and that they are easily accessible.
Set objectives and reasonable expectations
Ask yourself why are you attending the event? Are there any delegates or guest speakers you would like to approach?
Ask open-ended questions during conversations
This means that you should use questions which ask who, what, where, when, and how as opposed to those that can be answered with a simple yes or no. This form of questioning opens up the discussion and shows listeners that you are interested in them.
Have your ‘elevator’ pitch ready
It’s important to be able to articulate what you do in a short and precise manner. If there is more than one person from your company you should all be saying the same thing – consistency is key!
Listen carefully, keep eye contact, never interrupt and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Win people over by sharing enthusiasm for what you do.
Networking isn’t a competition
It’s about building relationships, growing your database of contacts and actively maintaining them.
You’ll have more chance of success by making genuine conversation, building rapport and showing interest in what the other person has to say. Remember, you’re trying to develop a relationship with a new contact.
It’s important to follow up your connections. Remind them of who you are and what you do, provide them with access to more information and a means of progressing the relationship e.g. would they like to sign up to your e-marketing or would they like a meeting to discuss your services?
Take time out to evaluate your networking. Was the event right for you? Did you achieve what you set out to do? How would you adjust the way you networked?
Samantha Davidson – MD of Horizonworks Marketing