Networking

Networking Tips that Business Owners Should Keep In Mind

Networking is becoming of ever-growing importance to establishing a well-known, trusted and successful business. Ryan from Intergrid, an Australian dedicated server provider, shares some tricks he’s learnt from ten years experience in sales and event management.

Be Willing to Travel

Making new contacts may often require you to travel to where those contacts are located. This may be outside of your region, or even country, so ensure that you have the time and resources to make the trips.

Find out valuable Information about Your Prospective Contacts

Chief executive of Postcode Anywhere, Guy Mucklow, says: “Research who else is going to a networking event and use LinkedIn to find five people that will be valuable to meet.  Make a mental note of common areas of interest and discussion points that will make your conversation smoother and more interesting when you meet in person.”

Have Confidence

“Look around the room for people standing on their own,” says Adam Riccoboni, co-founder of consultancy platform MBA & Company. “If everyone seems to be locked in conversation, never be afraid to approach.  So long as you’re polite, you’ll be welcomed into the discussion but always gauge their body language, if two people are deep in conversation, best not to butt in.” 

Don’t make it all about Business

It should come across as if you are at an event to make friends and not business leads. Keep talk about your business to a minimum, and don’t use the event as an opportunity to sell.

Don’t Allow Your Scope to get too narrowed

Once your conversation with a person has concluded, don’t be afraid to shake their hand, tell them how nice it was to speak to them, and move on to another person to make conversation with and get to know.

Be Prepared

It may be difficult to match faces to names after the event. Write down keywords that were relevant to your conversation to help you to remember.

Always Be Punctual

Sometimes the most memorable interactions occur early on in the event. It is not ideal to be one of the last people to arrive, as everyone will already be deep in conversation.

Take People’s Business Cards

A business card may make the world of difference when attempting to remember people and the conversations you had with them. It is a good idea to write down notes on the cards based on the people you speak with.

Be Prepared to Answer the Question “What Does Your Company or Business Do?”

Although your business may have complex business models that are established across many markets, it is best to keep things simple and to the point at events, as there will probably not be much time for extensive discussion.

Make Sure Your Contacts Are Meaningful

Do not contact a person for no specific reason, and always ensure that you have a legitimate reason to follow up with them. Mentioning a website or a book and offering to send the link after the event is an effective reason for follow-ups.

 

Helpful Networking Tips for Introverts

Introverts are generally people who are not fond of social situations and need alone time in order to regain their energy. It is for this reason that networking may prove to be difficult for people with introverted tendencies.

As networking is a crucial aspect of establishing a good reputation, both as an individual and as a business, the following tips are suggested in order to make the experience a little easier less intimidating.

Be Aware of Your Personal Strengths and Weaknesses

Many introverts possess certain qualities that are not usually common in extroverts – such as good listening skills. It is therefore important to realise the strengths that may come with being an introvert and to use these aspects to boost the quality of communications with people using your unique style and networking skills. Effective listening always plays a significant role in interpersonal communication and you would certainly enhance your style by allowing you to be able to capture the other person’s ideas and messages, and demonstrating your understanding while integrating your own opinion.

Take Part in Networking That Does Not Involve Face-To-Face Interactions

This type of networking works well for introverts, as responses can take place in their own time without social pressures.

Write Letters and Emails: This is an effective method of breaking the ice, as you can mention the person who referred you and give an impressive, well-thought-out introduction. Once contact has been established, there will be opportunity for follow-up calls and thereby professional relationships being formed.

Script-Write the basics of your dialogue on Phone Calls: Doing so will allow you to feel better-prepared and more relaxed for making initial contact through phone calls.

Volunteer and Take Part in Programs that involve your expertise: This will provide the opportunity to foster natural engagement with other individuals in your professional field.

Publicize and Promote Yourself: Getting your thoughts and expertise out there in the form of newsletters and online articles can do wonders for your reputation – especially if you add value to your industry. A good place to start is on professional social networks such as LinkedIn and Sixdegrees.com.

Come Prepared

Arriving on time to networking events is imperative to getting started on the right foot. Not only will you feel more ready and relaxed, but you will also be able to engage in small talk with the few people who are there – before huge crowds form as time passes.

It is a good idea to do your research on potential contacts who may be attending the same event. Also bring your business cards (if you have any) and any other hard copy, documentary evidence of your experience, knowledge and skills.

You could also bring someone with, who is an extrovert, to assist you in establishing meaningful contact with people at the event. This by no means implies that they should be your spokesperson, but it is always helpful to have assistance from someone who is more comfortable in social situations – especially for introduction purposes.

Don’t be afraid to excuse yourself from the room should things get too overwhelming.

Don’t forget: While a lot of the focus in networking is put on making initial contact with people, maintaining relationships with contacts after interaction has been established will play a key role in your networking success.