New Year Networking

Planning Your New Year Networking

Networking is both an art and a science. There are elements that require creativity (art) and elements that depend on techniques and principles. For example, following up is essential (principle), as is being able to connect with people and inspire trust (art). Both require training and practice yet many people expect to rock up to an event and be a networking pro from day one. This inevitably leads to disappointment when they don’t get the results they were hoping for, so how can you make the most of your networking in 2016?

Networking is both an art and a science. There are elements that require creativity (art) and elements that depend on techniques and principles. For example, following up is essential (principle), as is being able to connect with people and inspire trust (art). Both require training and practice yet many people expect to rock up to an event and be a networking pro from day one. This inevitably leads to disappointment when they don’t get the results they were hoping for, so how can you make the most of your networking in 2016?

Be Strategic

  • Work out where you want to develop connections and build your network. This will depend on;
    • Where you can regularly attend – popping once every now and then is not an effective use of your networking time
    • Where you want to develop your business, and
    • Where you feel you fit in, can relax and develop great connections
  • Plan and book meetings in a few months in advance so you can manage your diary around them
  • Maximise your time – make appointments before and after the meetings, you spend time driving their so use it effectively.

Perfect Your Pitch

  • Prepare 2-3 pitches for the different contexts you encounter eg., 20 second intro, 1 minute intro, formal, informal.
  • Focus on educating the members about the . . .

problem you solve not what you do

the benefits of your service not the features

how to find out more eg flyers on table, have a 1-to-1, coffee chat, website, email etc.

Sell Yourself

People buy people. If the members buy you they will tell people about you, if they don’t they won’t so you need to prepare yourself before arriving;

  1. Wear clothing appropriate for the meeting
  2. Plan to arrive early so you don’t walk in rushed and flustered, and you are settled in when others arrive
  3. Be prepared – have your business cards, badge, flyers, banner, notebook and pen etc prepared the evening before.
  4. Bring a positive, friendly outgoing disposition. If you are having a bad day or in a funk then before you go into the meeting take a moment to get your head in the business networking game, brush off the negative and take on a positive mindset. You do need to be real but you also need to be someone that people want to do business with and tell their colleagues about.

Follow Up

Walk away with a to do list. Some typical To Do’s;

  1. Connections – you’ve heard who people want to connect with so look for the people in your network you can introduce them to
  2. Coffee Chats – most business happens outside the networking meetings so make sure you have booked 1-2 coffee chats with people you have met. These are a great opportunity to get to know people more and learn about their business.
  3. Contact the names people have passed onto you.
  4. Other – maybe you need to talk to one of your contacts about some ideas one of your fellow networkers had, or someone mentioned a product or service that you might be interested in. Follow up and feedback.

There are many more elements involved in being an effective networker but these will help you get 2016 off to a great start. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help either, most networking leaders are open and willing to help people and point them in the right direction.

 

 

 

    Matt Alderton

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