It’s fair to say that there’s a networking group for practically every sector, and for all business sizes. It can be a little nerve-wracking giving presentations or elevator-pitches for the first time, so often a small, friendly group can be beneficial to begin with.
NETWORKING IN BUSINESS
“The relationships I’ve made via networking, and the Stagnated Business Breakfast Group, have generated an enormous amount of business for my company. By the same token, I have given a great deal of work to members I’ve met through the group.” – Eric Chorley, Guardhome
Networking is another form of social interaction, however with the business rise of social media and online interaction taking over our business environment, face to face networking can be daunting to many professionals at all levels.
- Try to attend these on your own or if you take a colleague try not to stand in a corner interacting only with each other, otherwise there is no point in attending. Be prepared to walk up to people to introduce yourself and your business. They might be in the same situation as you (first timers and on their own) or they might have been there before and can assist you in meeting some other contacts.
Be prepared; see which company representatives are attending and find out a little more about what they do. Then when you are there you can ask questions about their business. Also don’t forget your business cards but don’t throw them around like confetti. Make sure you exchange them under the right circumstances and at appropriate moments.
A key piece of advice someone told me once was listen more than you speak, however if everyone did this at a networking event then not many people would be talking. I prefer the 50/50 approach. Introduce yourself, your company and your services, however don’t forget to ask about the other person, to give their background too. Then try to find a common link to explore and open a conversation by asking open questions to get an engaging discussion going. The more interactive and engaging the topic of discussion the more networking contacts will want to join in.
- Two ears. One mouth. Use that in proportion.
- Go out of your way to put people together for their mutual benefit.
- Ask about their interests away from business (and remember for when you meet them again).
Ian Hudson, HDCC
- Honestly – always.
- Treat customers/products like your own.
- Over and above – give more to expect more
Craig Fordham, Craig Fordham Photography