Top 10 Tips: How to Network
Some people love networking events, some consider it their worst nightmare but everyone would welcome tips on how they can make new contacts quickly, easily and painlessly. We’ve made a top ten tips covering everything from before, to during, to after your event. Have a look below!
1. Do your homework
Before the event, if you know a particular person is going to be there who you’d like to connect with or if your event is about a particular sector, do your research about individuals and companies. This shows initiative and gives you something to talk about when you meet them.
2. Make the right entrance
Before your event, choose an outfit which gives off the right impression and one which is going to make you feel more confident. Make sure you arrive in plenty of time so you aren’t flustered or late. This way, without even beginning to network, you’re off to a great start!
3. Settling in
Get a drink, take your coat off and take your time to settle in and have a look at who’s about. You might see someone stood alone, someone you know, someone you’d pinpointed to talk to or at least a friendly face to approach to start with.
4. Manage your networking time – but don’t forget to be polite
You, generally, won’t know who is a beneficial person to speak to so you will inevitably have to talk to a few people who may or may not be a useful contact. It’s important to manage your networking time if you know that the person isn’t going to have a business advantage for you, but don’t forget to be polite. The reason people are put off these events is because of the speedy way they are dumped when others realise they aren’t a beneficial contact. Be polite, there’s no harm making a contact to bank for the future.
5. Here’s my business card…
It seems obvious but it’s amazing how many people forget to take their business cards or have them scattered and ripped in the bottom of their handbags. Prepare beforehand and put them in an easy-to-reach place.
When someone gives you their business card, as soon as you have a chance, write a note on the back of their card to remind yourself who they were – especially if you’re meeting a lot of people. It saves for embarrassment when you connect again.
6. Make sure they remember your name
When you are first conversing with someone, drop their name into sentences to show them you remembered it and – also – so you don’t forget it!
When you give them your business card, leave them with an anecdote or fun comment about yourself which will help them remember you. If someone doesn’t remember who you were, especially when they met so many at the event, they are less likely to get in contact afterwards as they’ll be embarrassed…
7. Don’t feel loyalty to fellow networkers
You might meet someone similar to yourself and it might seem easier to stick with them for the night but make sure you put yourself out there and talk to others too. You may or may not make fruitful contacts from others but at least you tried, and this will help you become more confident for next time.
8. It isn’t all about you
Networking is a two way street so when talking to people, don’t just think about what they are offering you but what you can offer them too. And, you never know, by helping someone else, they may just have something for you in the future.
9. Don’t waffle but be personable
Perfect your ‘elevator speech’ before your event. You don’t need to be word perfect but it’s good to have a concise, simple explanation about what you do and the company you work for. After you’ve gone past introductions, be sure to maintain eye contact, smile and talk about your personal life too, to make the conversation light, especially if you want to develop this working relationship further.
10. Following up after the event
As soon as possible after the event, take time to connect with your new contacts on LinkedIn with a personal note saying where you met them and how nice it is to connect again. If you promised to follow up your meeting with an email or phone call, do it within 3 days so it is still fresh in their mind.
Keep calm before your next networking event and follow some of our handy pointers. If you have any more helpful tips for our readers, why not comment with them below.