Good Planning is important when going out business networking – it may cover more than you think!
- Mindset – The way you approach networking is really important. If you start off thinking, for whatever reason, it won’t work for you…guess what – it won’t!
If you’re really nervous then take someone else with you so that walking in to the room is easier. You will have to agree to split up once you are in otherwise you’ll only talk to each other.
- Motivation – Engage with the real reason you’re networking so that you feel excited to be attending. There are many benefits that can be achieved from business networking and we cover them in a recent blog – Stripping away the mystery of why!
- Journey – sounds simple and it’s easy if you know the venue but if not do your research. There’s nothing worse than creating a wrong first impression by turning up late and flustered.
- What to wear – this is a tricky one but my advice here is dress appropriately. If you’re a handyman or a beautician you may feel uncomfortable dressing in a suit because you feel that’s more business-like. However, dressing smarter than your normal work attire may give you more confidence walking into a room of business professionals. You should always be smart and tidy and don’t forget to look down and check your shoes are clean. One no no is to have a quick cigarette to calm your nerves just before you walk in to the room – stale nicotine is the worst thing you can wear.
- Take Business Cards – it is still the easiest way to pass your details, especially if there isn’t a guest list, at an event. Be discerning and don’t throw them around willy nilly as it’ll just look like you’re trying to sell and that it’s all about you. Better to reserve them for people you want to meet after the event and get to know more about.
- How to introduce yourself – this is a big topic but remember people ask what you do not what are you. An example would be asking an accountant what they do. The normal response would be I’m an Accountant. The more engaging response would be I help people pay less tax in their business. (we’ll do a separate blog on this)
- What are you expecting to achieve in going along to the event. If you have an outcome in mind it is easier to measure your success. A word of caution – if you expect to go and get business immediately you are going to be disappointed. A more realistic expectation would be to make two new contacts with people you feel there was some synergy with.
It’s pretty normal to feel a little apprehensive but good planning and preparation along with a large dose of ‘just get on with it, this is good for me and my business’ will help.
If you are interested in improving your business networking skills or in how to get more from your business networking then we’re planning some workshops next year. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will keep you posted.