Like it or not, networking is an important part of your job. Whether you’re an entrepreneur like me, or if you work for a large organisation, getting out and meeting people is important. You should regularly make time for it.
I happen to enjoy networking, but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Regardless, it’s in your best interest to try to become more comfortable in these kinds of situations.
Here are five simple tips to help you make the most of this opportunity:
- Bring business cards. It may seem obvious, but it’s remarkable how many people neglect to ensure they have enough to share around.
- Dress your best. It may be superficial, but your appearance says a lot about you and the company you represent. Take the time to make sure you are sending the best message.
- Speak to people! The purpose of attending these events is to broaden your social and business networks. Don’t just stand there speaking to people you already know. If you don’t make contact with new people, you may as well have stayed in the office. And remember that many of the people attending the event may also be shy — don’t let this stop you from introducing yourself and asking if they are enjoying themselves.
- Remember that people do business with people they know. It sounds simple enough, but you may not have considered it: the more people you know, the more successful your business is likely to be. Networking events are a tremendous opportunity not only to meet new people, but to get reacquainted with people you have met before. A networking event presents the ideal opportunity to develop your relationship with acquaintances.
- Follow up! After meeting new people at an event, follow up your initial contact by dropping them a line by email. You could even give them a ring! See if they are on Twitter, and if so, follow them with your business account.
Effective networking is not brain surgery. Like most things that make someone successful, the key is developing a few good habits, and sticking with them.
I must dash now, I want to make sure I look my best for this afternoon’s networking session.