Networking may not even be something you have thought much about. Yet every time we tell someone what we do for a living, we are doing a tiny bit of networking. Reaching out into the community of potential buyers or spreading the word about what you do.
So how can you make the most of it? Here’s a few ideas (and do add your own on the bottom!):
- Find a group you like. Miss Dashwood loves Athena networking: an all female group which meets once a month for lunch, training and a chance to talk about your business. It’s structured and friendly. But there are lots of other options from First Fridays to LinkedIn groups. Your local district council may have a list too.
- Talk to strangers – yes, we know. There’s hardly enough time in life to talk to your friends let alone steel yourself up to chat to newbies. But networking needs to be purposeful. Time really is money so make it count.
- Don’t stand with your back to the room. Always face outwards (and smile).
- Watch the body language. Are your arms folded defensively across your chest?
- Make sure you have enough up to date cards. Check out Moo for good offers.
- Make an offer. Why not grab a little attention by offering a 10 per cent discount if someone signs up to your service or buys a product today? Don’t hard sell – let the chance to get a good deal sell itself.
7. Wear something bright. Miss Dashwood was once asked to a very swanky business affair. An old friend advised her to wear red. Work the entire room twice. And then leave before the drinks began to flow. Maximum visibility, minimum chance for things to go wrong
8. Do follow up all your introductions. Set aside an hour that day to email back everyone you met and just say hi.