Networking is usually a fun way for businesses to interact sometimes in a formal situation like during a training course. But can often be more relaxed and fun. Networking is a fantastic tool for business. It allows you to quickly build professional relationships in your local business network.
More recently networking events have become fun social activities. What used to be quite formal and dry talk after a long seminar. Can now be anything from a fun pottery class to after-work drinks even an inter-business sporting league.
The idea is that business hits the bench and we get to know each other and see who they are before bringing business to the table. It allows relationships to grow more organically and have better working relationships.
While most networking is on hold at the moment. It hasn’t stopped networking groups from meeting online.
Here are our do’s and don’t of attending networking sessions.
Don’t be afraid.
Everyone is here for the same reason. We’re all looking to grow our businesses, create a network and meet like-minded businesses folk so jump in. Introduce yourself, be friendly and polite. It can be hard to step outside of your comfort zone. Start small, try approaching a small group or join in with a couple of icebreakers.
Don’t talk shop.
Sometimes we go to networking events and there are people there who are looking to sell sell sell and it’s very obvious. I’m not saying don’t ever talk about your business. But you want it to feel natural and organic as a pose to rocking up and hard-selling your business in 20 seconds to anyone who will listen. It’s too aggressive and comes off quite needy and desperate and most people will turn a blind eye to the whole thing.
With nerves comes a mouth that won’t stop running. We’ve all been there. We’re nervous and anxious and we want to plug some space and just keep talking and talking. But it’s important to keep it concise, talk about yourself and your business. But ask some questions, talk about your hobbies or holidays you’ve been on. You’ll soon find the level of informality helps keep you back on track. It’s not an interview so just relax and you’ll be fine.
Do Bring some support.
The dream team is heading to networking. Having a business partner or colleague there to help you out can be supportive. Especially if it’s your first time. Having a business wingman there can really boost your confidence and help you get into a groove with it way quicker. (make sure you don’t forget your business cards!)
Do shop around.
Sometimes people will tell you about the events that ‘everyone whos anyone’ in the local business scene attends. But that doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Play to your strengths if you don’t fancy doing a working breakfast. And are more comfortable with a pint in your hand after a day at the office there’s an event for that. (+24 even hosts Friday drinks on the last Friday of every month where you can come meet our lovely team and have a chat! Not currently active due to lockdown.)
Do follow up.
If networking is a hit, make sure you follow up with any potential clients. Little reminders and thank you’s are a great way to stay in people minds. You can send an email or even just a post on social media. A lot of people do this and tag the event and any companies they met during the event. It’s a nice little bit of e-networking. It’s a fantastic way to break the ice and keep your network growing.
Learn more about networking by listening to a new episode of EAT SLEEP BUSINESS EP 7: How to build your business through referrals Or also available on Youtube.
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