So, two meetings into the launch of Ealing connect and I thought I’d share the top tips that I have learnt from the last two years networking in and around Ealing and West London. Each networking group approaches their meetings differently but as an attendee, the thought of walking into a room of people you don’t know can be overwhelming and somewhat daunting. So hopefully, after reading the following tips will arrive at your next meeting feeling prepared, less anxious and really to make some connections.
Here are my Top Tips to Networking
- Be Yourself – Treat everyone you meet like your friend and be genuine. The people you connect with at a meeting when you are authentic are the ones you’ll want to stay in touch with after.
- Set reasonable expectations – When attending an event, understand what you are there to do. If your goal to find new contacts or to offer your service then have that in mind. If it is simply to connect with like minded individuals and stay connected then try to stick to it. Set a new goal each time you go and your events will be more enjoyable.
- Try out a lot, but then only attend a few – This way you can work out what feels right, what sort of commitment you would like to give, how much it will cost (annually and per event) and whether you gel with the other attendees.
- Take Notes – This always helps when it comes to following up your leads or recommendations that someone may have given you. It’s hard to remember everything so jot down a few lines!
- Introduce yourself to the organiser – This will make you feel at ease and allow the organiser to get to know you and introduce you to another member at the event which will, in turn, make it easier for you to ‘break the ice’ with someone new.
- Go to an event with a goal in mind – I usually go with an offer or promotion that I want to let everyone know about. It could be as simple as getting those in the room to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter but try and plan before you go.
- Plan your 60-second pitch – Time is precious at networking meetings, so you should be able to get across the most important information about your business, including your unique selling point, in a short space of time. Practice introducing yourself with family and colleagues beforehand, until you feel confident with your pitch.
- Prior to attending the events – Order your business cards or flyer to take along with you and remember to ask for someone’s card especially if they have asked for yours.
- Join a few social networking groups in your area before hand – This will enable you to perhaps recognise some names when you are introduced to people. Such groups can be found on Facebook or Twitter.
- Take a genuine interest in others – Once in a conversation, listen to others and show interest. Do not start looking around the room at others trying to spot someone more interesting. This will only get you a reputation of being rude and ignorant. Listen to them exactly how you would like them to listen to you. By listening and helping others, they are more likely to help you. Remember: ‘givers gain’
- Do not over-sell at a networking event – Networking is NOT selling. It is about building relationships, getting to know, like and trust others. Obviously, talk about your products/services, but sandwich ‘business talk’ between ‘small talk’
- Take the opportunity to present if you are asked – This will enable you to show off your expertise to a room full of eager listeners.
- Finally, Make sure you follow up with your new contacts -Follow up on new contacts as soon as possible with a short email or a quick phone call. If you’ve said you’ll do something, make sure you do it. By not doing so, you will undo all the good work you did at the event.
If you need any further advice or you would like to talk to me further on this issue contact me via my website http://bommiemedia.com/ or call me.
Hope to see you at the next Networking event. Find out the dates here Calendar