7 Top Tips to make the most of your networking opportunities

Networking, the clue's in the name!

 

You need to put the work in if you’re going to make the most of your networking opportunities. Here are some top tips to help make sure that your networking activity works for you and your business.

  1. Start networking before the event, let people who you want to meet know that you will be attending prior to the event and pre-arrange to meet them for a coffee or a chat.
  2. Prepare what you’re going to say about your business or the services that you offer. Develop and practice a short pithy overview of what you do, something you can easily articulate. Describing what you do should roll off your tongue easily, be memorable and relevant. But don’t make it a hard pitch for business.
  3. Have a firm and welcoming handshake – remember you’re not auditioning for “World’s Strongest Man” or doing an impression of a wet fish. And smile. People have written entire articles on the perfect handshake, it’s that important.
  4. Be genuine and authentic, think about how you could help others, and don’t forget that the people you’re talking to could recommend you to their contacts if you make a good impression. You’re not just selling yourself to the person you’re talking too, but potentially to their wider network too.
  5. Remember that networking is a two-way process and not just about what’s in it for you, you need to give something in order to get something back in return. Networking is a two-way street and few things in business come for free!
  6. Don’t forget to ask open questions, not those that are answered with a simple yes or no. Make sure you’re up to date with the latest industry news and practice your conversation “opener”.
  7. Make sure you have plenty of business cards with you and don’t forget to follow-up with people after the event like connecting with them on LinkedIn. Follow-up within 48hrs and reference something you spoke about, or thank them for a piece of advice or information that they gave you, to ensure that your new contact can “place” you – they will have met lots of people at the event.

Happy networking

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