Yesterday I received praise for my post where I wrote about attending my first networking event. Well deserved praise I hope, but there was some action taken by myself…2 secs….ah that’s better, just switched off video playing in the background! Now where was I? Yes there was some action taken by myself that meant I stood out (in my eyes).
So my 5 Basic Tips for Networking are as follows, and they cover both what you do online as well as offline.
1. Be genuine!
If you are not genuine then let’s face it, you are going to get rumbled surely at some point! When that happens you can take all the hard work and effort you have put in so far and flush it down the WC/toilet/lavatory/bog/shitter. You do not want to be working or associated with a dishonest person, and why would anyone else want to be? Be honest with who you are and what you do, you will get more out of any relationships built and not set yourself up to fail.
I’ll genuinely state to anyone that I work as a Shipping Clerk full-time, but have had some brilliant results on two WordPress websites and I am learning more all the time.
2. Deliver on your promises!
If you say you are going to do something, do it! This really relates to the above in some ways and is all about building trust. No point in setting a person’s expectations and then failing to deliver. Networking is similar to dating; you would not set a date for taking him/her on a lovely meal out, not turn up or call, and then still expect things to work out fine when you rang them days later.
How hard is this one? Take 10 minutes out of your day dedicated to those people who interest you before or after the event. Find them on the attendees list and interact with them a little. There are a couple of ways to do this:
- Look for them on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or any other social network that is the in thing at the time or relevant to your market/industry. Start following them/ask to be friends with a quick “Hi I see you are attending such and such, see you there!”, or something similar.
- If the person contributes to a blog, make a comment. All bloggers love comments!
It is the thing they work hardest for when they start blogging and if you can leave a constructive comment they will forever be eternally grateful…so you know what to do at the end of this yeah? 😉
- After the event, you should have their business card. If like me, their Email inbox consists of delete, delete, delete…what would be more refreshing than a personal Email?
Also, as a tip so they do not forget to reply, hit them with a quick “Hi, hope you received my Email ok!” via one of the social network sites they are active on (Just the one reminder, you don’t want to start stalking them just yet…no matter how handsome or pretty they maybe Hehe!).
This applies when at a networking event…
You maybe fantastic and have soo much to say about yourself and what you have done, what you are doing, what you are going to do…but really, I have not got a word in edge ways to even ask you a question about something that interested me 5 minutes ago!
Give the person you are talking to time to ask a question if the event is set-up to allow that time. Take a pause and if they don’t seem like have anything to ask and still engaged, then continue along your way with the discussion.
The same goes for you as a listener though, do not cut the other person off continuously and do not start making it all about you until the time is right.
5. Prepare Yourself!
When I recently attended the Southampton Link-up event I was totally unprepared to be truthful. The week before I was banking on a friend coming along with me for some moral support. They dipped out and then I had to go it alone, because as far as I was concerned I had dedicated myself to going via my Twitter status and retweeting the event.
I had no business cards printed, I felt my wardrobe needed updating and what was I going to say about myself? I had no idea!
So here is list of what I recommend doing so you are prepared for any networking occasion:
- Define who you are and what you do.
- Repeat the above to yourself until you believe it. I’m working on this one.
- Because you have done the above, you can now say this with a business card. A printed one, not a handwritten one like I did for my first event.
- If you feel like your wardrobe needs updating, go shopping! I did this and it made me feel much better about myself.
- Check out what the weather is doing, you don’t want to soaked through to your skin when you turn up.
- Make sure you know where the event is and check your travel arrangements. There is nothing wrong with turning up early if the train times are awkward. You want to arrive stress free, rather than complaining about late trains for the rest of the event.
I hope these 5 networking tips are handy for anyone new to networking like myself. No doubt there will be more to follow as I learn more at each event.
Please leave any tips of your own in the comment box below.
Thank you for reading