Active business networking gets results. But when you are new to networking, either as a start-up business or as a responsibility in your new job, it can be very scary going to a meeting of business people. Here are 9 tips for networking newbies…
Make the meeting as easy as possible for yourself:
1) Contact the host or organiser, explain you are new to this and would like some help. Ask if you can have a copy of the attendee list BEFORE the meeting.
2) When you get the list, check if there is anyone on the list you know; or a business that your company deals with.
3) Then check who you would like to make contact with; who you would like to meet.
4) Arrange to be introduced: If you find someone (or a company) you know on the list, give him/her a call and ask if he knows the people you want to meet. If he does, ask if he would mind introducing you at the meeting. You now have someone you can talk to immediately you arrive (the person you've just called) and you have a goal to meet someone new, in a safe environment when you are introduced.
If you do not recognise any names on the list, call your host/organiser and ask if he/she would introduce you to the people you want to meet.
5) Arrive early. It is a lot easier to greet people as they arrive and have them join YOU, than it is to arrive later and then try to ‘break into’ conversations that have already started.
6) When you are introduced to someone make a point to remember his/her name.
7) Ask questions about him (or her); his interests; how long he's been in that business; what's his biggest challenge; what advice would he give to someone like you, who is new to networking (he'll feel flattered you've asked). And listen to his answer(see my article: Networking Meetings - Creating Rapport with People You Meet).
8) When you are asked a question, such as “What do you do?" have a succinct, but preferably intriguing, answer. Don't launch into a full presentation. (see my articles: Networking Your Way to Profits: Part 1 ‘The Power of The Elevator Speech’ and Networking Your Way to Profits: Part 2 ‘Creating Your Elevator Speech').
9) Remember – networking is about creating relationships, so consider how you can help the people you meet – and that does not mean by selling something to him (or her). Think about who you can introduce him to; people who need his services or products or can supply something he has expressed an interest in that you are not able to supply.
©2005 Original Work by Carol Bentley
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