Professional networking events are a great opportunity for people to build and maintain mutually beneficial relationships that support the growth of your brand and business. However, many are intimidated by networking events and tend to hide away, unsure of what to say and how to approach other networkers.
Networking is a process that requires perseverance and a genuine intention to generate long lasting relationships.
Here are some networking tips that you can try out at your next networking event.
Build your connections
Networking events aren’t just about acquiring new business, it’s about surrounding yourself with a support network.
Running a business can be a stressful and lonely experience at times. So it can be fascinating to hear what is happening in the wider business community, to share your experiences and learn from others. Building connections across industries is the best way to open up future business avenues and opportunities.
Networking is personal advertising
Networking events can be the most cost-effective way of reaching many new potential clients. If you’re an SME with a tight marketing budget, this makes it particularly worthwhile.
Don’t be afraid to start a conversation at networking events. Face-to-face communication is your most powerful tool in building strong, personal relationships. No amount of interaction online can replace meeting people in the real world.
Network with the relevant people
From a business development perspective, it is a good idea to network with people who are your potential clients. For example, if your target market is small business, then participate in groups for small business owners, such as your local chamber of commerce or other small business groups related to your industry.
It is also a good idea to belong to your industry specific network, such as one that is run by the professional association you may belong to.
Go alone to networking events
This tip might surprise you. The key to good networking is to go alone. The problem with going with a friend or colleague for support is you will inevitably use the event as a catch up.
If you invite a colleague to attend with you, split up during any networking period and catch up after the event.
Build genuine relationships
Effective networking is not about selling. In fact, it’s not even about talking. It’s about listening. A networking pro knows that networking and building relationships is about taking the time to find out about others, and from there, working out if there is synergy.
Always follow up with those you meet at an event and take advantage of the relationships you make, as these will bolster your reputation and create opportunities. Focus creating real connections with people, not trying to get as many business cards as possible. Try setting a goal for each event to get two business cards with the invitation to contact them and arrange a coffee meeting to chat in more detail.
Networking is an essential component to business development. Through networking, you have access to a room full of people who can help you grow your business. By increasing awareness of your business and creating solid, personal relationships, networking naturally opens the door for future business opportunities.
Sydney Social Media and Public Relations Agency, CP Communications blends cutting edge offline and online PR and social media to help you gain a competitive advantage. Contact us today. For more great tips visit our website www.cpcommunications.com.au.