Category : Blogs
For some people, networking comes as naturally as breathing. Sadly, most of us aren’t those people, and networking successfully is something we have to work at. Much more than rocking up somewhere to get coffee, networking is a vital part of our marketing efforts, and something we pay a lot of attention to. But if you’re not a natural networking, it can seem a little tough to work out how to change what you’re doing and get the most out of your networking efforts. So today, we have 6 easy and simple ways you can improve your networking this month and see real results.
Have A Plan
Let’s go back to basics. Why are you going networking? What is it you’re looking for, and how will you find it? Having a strategy for networking might seem a bit rigid, but in reality it’s a vital part of success. For each event you go to, know what kind of person you want to speak to, and how you plan to find and approach them. It might be that you’re asking for introductions to a certain type of person, or you’re going to a networking group of people in only that industry. Planning out your approach will also keep you more focused when you’re in the room, leading to a better quality experience.
Prepare Your Pitch
In many networking groups, you will be given the chance to stand up and deliver a pitch to the room. It’s usually short – anywhere between 30 seconds and a minute – which means you need to know exactly what you want to say before it’s your turn to stand up. We see too many people fumble over their words and waste their precious time, in what could be a powerful pitch session. But if you prepare your pitch in advance, you will be able to deliver it more confidently and get your point across in the way you want to. Not only that, but you can look up a specific person you want to be introduced to, and ask if anyone knows them in your pitch. Specific requests often lead to people following up on your behalf, or even knowing the person you’re asking for. It’s an incredibly powerful thing to do, so why not take advantage of it? Remember, specific is terrific!
Speak to Everyone
If you’re attending a regular networking event, it can be all too tempting to fall into speaking to the same people over and over again. And while it’s true that networking is all about building those relationships, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of forging new ones. When you go to an event, try and speak to everyone in the room, if only briefly. Getting bogged down with one or two people can mean you don’t network as freely, and you could miss a crucial introduction. So if someone new walks into the room, or even someone who you haven’t spoken with much, make a point of having a conversation. You never know where it might lead.
During the meeting, you don’t have much time to get to know each other. Even in our 10-12 meetings, where we give you 2 5 minute 1-2-1’s, it’s still not really enough time to build that relationship up. So it’s important to arrange to meet people outside of the time pressures of a meeting. 1-2-1’s are where the real business is done – where you can discuss the details of your products and services, and find those sparks of interest or collaboration. But so many people don’t make the time to have them. Even if you just set aside an hour after the meeting to chat with someone over a coffee, you will see your networking improve and your success increase. Honestly, we can’t advocate for 1-2-1’s enough.
Try New Groups
There’s nothing like a change of scenery, and that goes for networking as well as life. The sad reality is that if you just stick to one group, eventually you will reach saturation point, and you will get nothing more out of it. To really improve your networking reach, you shouldn’t be afraid to try out lots of different groups. Visit different areas, different networks and even groups who meet at different times of day. You’ll meet a lot more people that way, and widen your network even more. This extra exposure will help to grow your business, your network and your skills quicker than anything else.
And finally, don’t forget the follow up! This is the thing we wish we could shout from the rooftops at every single networking event throughout the country. Having a great conversation in the room is one thing, but translating that into business outside the room is another. Too many people assume others will follow up with them, when in reality, you’re both thinking the same thing. So many opportunities are wasted because leads aren’t followed up, emails aren’t sent, LinkedIn requests aren’t issued and phone calls aren’t made. So if you take one thing from this blog, let it be to follow up on all of your conversations in the room!
At 10-12, we’ve worked hard to build a culture of community, sharing and learning within our groups. That’s why we offer you 1-2-1’s in the meeting and even break out sessions to discuss business topics and exchange tips. In fact, the points above actually came out of a breakout session at our Reading meeting this month – so these are tips from our members, and ways they feel they could all improve their networking skills. If you’d like to join our community, or just see what 10-12 is like, just get in touch with us today, or book your visit here.