Here at BCRS we take part and arrange many networking lunches and events throughout the year. As one of the most recent BCRS employees and ‘jumping’ straight into work after university this was an aspect of work I had to adjust to very quickly, especially as part of the marketing team!
As you know, networking plays a big part in the running of a successful business but how do you network successfully? Introducing yourself to a room full of strangers can be a very daunting experience, trust me!
I’m going to share some of my best networking tips to calm those nerves and get the most out of the experience…
I know what you’re thinking, surely arriving early is worse than arriving late? It’s not! This gives you the opportunity to make conversation with people before it gets too busy- people won’t have settled into groups yet. The busier it gets the more difficult you will find it to start a conversation with groups of people.
Approach someone and initiate a conversation with them, don’t wait for individuals or groups to approach you. It doesn’t necessarily have to be business related, just a simple ‘hello’ will get the conversation started. Make sure you listen to their replies to your questions, you will be surprised how much you can get to know a person and how easily the conversation will flow once you ‘break the ice’.
Ditch the sales pitch
Networking is based around building relationships with people. People are more likely to do business with people whose company they enjoy. Going hard on sales a soon as you enter the room is not the best idea. Having said that be prepared for any business-related questions you may be asked and answer them in an uncomplicated way.
Note: think about what you do, what your business does and any recent achievements you think may be of interest to your audience.
Share your passion
Following on from the above point, if you do get asked a question about your business don’t shy away from your passion for position and the business you work for. This will encourage others to do the same.
Remember to follow up
Networking is the beginning of a relationship, not the end. Make sure you give people the option to contact you and/or ask for their contact details. The ‘desired’ contact time after an event is up to 48 hours. This shows your interest and willingness to build on previous conversations.
One last tip from me, make sure you take your business cards with you, it will be much easier to exchange details.
Now take this information and run with it! Your ‘fear’ of networking will ease, and you will be building valuable relationships in no time!
What’s your best networking tip? Tell us on social media