Advice for Successful Networking

business-networking-environmentLike it or not, networking is a vital part of ensuring your success in business, because in the business world, who you know could be the key to landing an important contract instead of losing out to a competitor. Business is all about relationships, and networking is the best way to expand your contacts and help your business grow. So how do you get the best out of it?

  1. Prepare well. Think about what you want to get out of your networking session in advance. Find out who else is attending - how could they benefit your business? Do they have a particular contact you'd like them to introduce you to? Remember it's not a social gathering. If you have a plan before you go in, you're more likely to get the best out of the event.
  2. Be punctual. We usually shy away from being the first to arrive anywhere, but if you're late people will have already formed groups. How can you take advantage of the opportunities in the room if you're stuck on the fringes?
  3. Don't be nervous. We don't all relish mixing with strangers but don't forget you're probably not the only one feeling that way. Put on a winning smile and put your best foot forward.
  4. Mingle! Don't just settle in with a group of people you already now. It may be very pleasant chatting to them, but it's not what networking is about. Always remember you're there to make new contacts.
  5. Show your passion. Enthusiasm can go a long way towards winning people over so don't be afraid to let people see the passion you have for your business. You might want to share the inspiration that led you to create your company-you might just strike a chord with a useful new contact.
  6. Remember it's not a sales pitch. Passion is one thing, but don't go for the hard sell. The point is for people to get to know and trust you. Have an answer ready for when people ask about what your business does and what it's achieved lately, but keep it informal.
  7. Take business cards. Make sure you have a supply of professional business card to hand out to your new contacts.
  8. Do favours. Make introductions and if you see someone standing alone, invite them into your group. Your small acts of kindness could pay dividends in the form of new business.
  9. Give your full attention. How would you like it if someone was constantly glancing around the room trying to spot someone else while you were talking? You'd think them ignorant, and rightly so. Networking is about building relationships with people, and that starts with courtesy and good listening skills
  10. Follow up promptly. The networking event is just the beginning of your new relationship. Get contact details from people you've enjoyed talking with, connect with them via social networks, email or phone and if you've promised to do something, do it and show them you're as good as your word.

Business Buzz is a networking organisation which allows small businesses to meet and connect once a month in a relaxed environment over coffee.

If you have any questions, please ask below!