Networking is a fancy way of saying ‘getting to know people’. It is one of the most effective ways to gain new clients and customers and increase your business revenue.
However, I find people like to talk more about themselves. They talk more than they listen during conversations at various networking events. It’s a big turn off.
Use a bit of focused attention. This involves effective listening skills and sticking to the one person for more than one or two minutes. Take the time to ask questions like: “so what do you like best about what you do?” or “How is business?”
A few things to remember when networking are:
– Handshake firmly: People respect a firm hand shaker. Also, extend your hand first.
– Rehearse your introduction: Plan the best way to briefly describe yourself and the products and services you provide.
– Make business card exchanges meaningful: The ‘speed dating’ days are over. No longer does Mr Smith say “Hello, my name is Jim Smith, have a card.” Instead, only exchange cards with someone when it will be of mutual benefit. One more thing, please make sure you have business cards and that they are readily accessible. It’s frustrating to be made to wait.
– Enter group conversations sensitively: When entering a group, approach and stand quietly for a second or two. Wait for a break in the conversation or for someone in the group to look your way.
– Don’t be shy: It brings nothing but regrets. You have to remember that everyone else is in the same situation.
– Follow-up with new acquaintances: A big mistake people make often. Establishing contact within 24-48 hours with every person you met with is good for the next step. Be sure to fulfil any promises you made also.
Michael is a business advisor that gives real and modern business advice that encourages thinking different and using strategies that are unique. To date, he has given over 4000+ hours of advisory with business owners.
He was awarded the Best Business Enterprise Centre Mentor/Advisor Australia 2014 and also the youngest person to ever receive the award.
He is a regular contributor to many publications including the national 'Inside Small Business Magazine', Business columnist for 'The Western weekender', 'The Village Voice' and more.