We all know the familiar anxiety and awkwardness of attending networking events, but in this…
7 Tips That Will Make You a Guru at Networking Overnight
I was at a networking lunch recently and a fellow business woman asked the group how she could grow her business and get new clients. It’s an age-old question every business owner has, right?
After she explained what she did – she’s a jewellery designer who remodels the old into new one-off pieces – and where she wanted to target (her local area), I asked her if she was networking.
She said she had only just started. In fact, that was her first ever networking event.
When she explained what she did several women at our table wanted her details and knew other people who would too. Simply from speaking up at a networking event, she’s opened the doors to new customers.
I put networking and speaking at the top of my marketing funnel. It’s very rare that I leave an event without the name of someone who needs content written or wants to attend one of my workshops.
However, there are several things I’ve done to perfect this result over the years, so here are my best seven tips that will help you become the guru at networking.
1. Connect with the organiser
Introduce yourself to the organiser of the event, especially if you are new to the group. The best way to do this is to arrive early so you can get a little bit of time with them before the event. If not, stay back after the event and connect. Do this each and every time, and at every event.
2. Talk to the speaker or guest
Most networking events will have a guest or a speaker or maybe even a group of people. Be sure to introduce yourself and say hello. Strike up a brief conversation (they have a lot of people to speak with) and make it memorable. Connecting with both the speaker and the organiser means you are talking to two of the most influential people in the room.
3. Have an intention; a goal
When you network do you have a goal? For example, meeting the speaker and the organiser. Or meeting three likeminded business owners with the same target market as you. Perhaps it is to connect with 5 people on Facebook or LinkedIn as you meet them. Whatever it is will be personal to your and your business goals. It should never be about collecting a whole bunch of business cards.
4. Answer questions in front of the group
If the speaker asks a question, answer it. If you are asked to stand up and share your wins, do it. It’s an opportunity to introduce yourself and say your business name – in front of who knows how many people. You never know what will come of it. This was a huge tip one of my business mentors gave me very early on in my business life. It works a charm because instead of introducing myself individually to say 30 people, I just stand up one time and introduce myself to the group – then people come to me.
5. Give away a prize
I give away stacks of prizes at events that have the same target market as me. If the organiser doesn’t describe my offering (usually a book or workshop ticket), I get to stand up and explain who I am, what I do and what the prize is. It’s gold. It also gives me an opportunity to leverage it even further because often the organiser will say “Who wants to learn more about blogging?” and usually half the room will put up their hand so I can see potential people who might want to come to my workshop if they don’t win.
6. Be yourself
Whether you are quiet achieving introvert or a loud and proud extravert, just be yourself. Those who are likeminded will connect with you and you will form beautiful relationships with them.
7. Have fun
Business is meant to be fun. Often we have left our full-time jobs to start a business so we can lead a life we truly love and adore – on our own terms and not dictated by anyone else. We are naturally drawn to those who are having a great time, so use it to your advantage and just have fun wherever and whenever you are networking.
What have I missed anything? If you’re a networking guru, please share some of your best tips below too. I’d love to hear them.
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