Zoom 10: Amy and Emma’s Networking tips
Firstly, think about why you are going networking – make sure you have a clear idea of the WHY and the WHAT you are going to get out of it?
We see it as an opportunity to meet, learn, discuss, promote, and grow. Maybe in an open networking group or in and industry-specific event.
Whatever, the group, make sure it is the right one for you – check out the social media and the websites. If you are happier in flip flops don’t end up in a group where everyone is booted and suited
Once you’ve decided that you are going to go Networking, make sure you:
- Make a plan – which event is right for you – there are so many! Get recommendations from people you trust. Choose one at the right time of the day for you – if you’re not good in the morning don’t do a 6.30 am breakfast!
- Get hold of the attendee list once you have made your decision on the event
- Do your homework on the attendees and draw up a list of who you want to meet and connect with – prepare and use LinkedIn and Google to find out about contacts and their businesses. Be realistic – 3 -5 quality contacts, discussions, and actions.
- Decide what to wear – maybe a bright skirt, shirt, tie – something that will help people remember you
- If you get nervous, make sure you arrive early, ready for a dash to the loo to calm yourself, try and hook up with someone going to the same event so that you walk in with together, take a deep breath. Enjoy, it’s a skill like anything else the more you practice the better you will get at it.
At the event
- Get your name badge – wear it on the right-hand side, as you shake hands eyes are drawn towards your badge, have a spare business card just in case you’ve been missed off a list or misspelled
- Ask for introductions by the event organizer – that is their job to connect you
- Team up with someone standing on their own or looking lost – easier with a buddy!
Some folk make conversation look so effortless – have some cracking conversation starters up your sleeve.
For example – all said with an engaging smile:
- Hi, my name is….
- Can I join you….
- I couldn’t help overhearing….
- Hello, this is my first event….
- Hello, I saw your business in the local paper….
Whilst chatting be aware of your body language, head tilt, nodding in affirmation, affirmative noises, stand in an open stance which invites others into the conversation and really LISTEN.
Many networking events have a 30/60 second elevator pitch opportunity. This might fill you with horror so make sure you are prepared – really don’t wing it. Dependent on whether you are networking for your own business, to make contacts for a new job or internal networking to make contacts around the business, preparing a sparkling 30 seconds requires practice, in order to be memorable and make it punchy.
Think of the 30/60 seconds as a part of the brand of you – like your CV’s personal statement or LinkedIn personal profile. Encapsulating you, your skills, your brand, your USP’s into a statement and then adapting it for different events, requires practice in front of a mirror or a friend – it needs to be slick and if you can memorable.
Top tip – include who you are, what you do, what ‘problem’ you solve and a call to action rounded off with a repeat of your name and business name
Finally, once you have finished your event and are walking away with a handful of business cards – follow up fast. Same day if you can.
- LinkedIn with a personal note on a laptop – phones don’t allow for a note
- Action any connections you have offered.
- Make a call or coffee arrangement if you have promised
- Follow on social
- Keep in touch and hopefully you will grow that business friendship with more networking.
Enjoy your networking
Emma and Amy