Going to networking meetings can be very daunting for a lot of people. I mean you are putting yourself out there, and going to meet a whole bunch of strangers often at a crazy early time in the morning. In fact they all know each other, and you are the newbie in the room. Before you go to your next meeting make sure you are following the 6 networking tips below.
How can we navigate the maze that is a networking meeting? How can you leave that room knowing that you have done a cracking job.
Here are 6 networking tips to help you out:
1. Be prepared
Often at networking meetings you have a chance to talk to the whole group about your business. Its normally 60 seconds. So make sure you have a 60 second pitch planned – let them know who you are, who you serve, and who you are looking for in terms of referrals. Keep it a good, slow tempo, and the more specific you are the better. “I would love to be introduced to John Simmons, the HR Director at Company Name” is way better, than “ I am looking HR directors”. If you know this from memory that’s ideal, but taking a cheat sheet with you is fine.
Practice it several times before going in. You want to feel confident. But remember you are talking about you, you know you better than anyone else!
2. Don’t try and sell anyone anything.
“But that’s why I am going” – No it’s not! You are going to build relationships with people so that they may buy, or refer people who may buy, in the future. No one likes the guy who comes up and jus starts trying to sell them something. Don’t be that guy.
3. Focus On Relationships
Don’t just rush round the room trying to collect everyone’s business card, so you can try and sell to them later. That is not networking, there was no effort to build relationships. If you do this, you will have spoken to everyone for about 10 seconds and no one can even remember you.
Focus on talking 4 people and finding out as much information about them as you can.
4. It’s all about them!
When you are talking to people, make sure the conversation is all about them. This is their favourite subject anyway. Find out as much as you can about their business and what they do, and who they look for. If they leave the conversation, or the meeting, and know very little about you, but you know lots about them, I can guarantee that they are thinking, “that person was lovely, I want to know more about them, and see if I can help them”.
Obviously if they ask questions about you, answer them, don’t just sidestep the question. But where possible bring the conversation back to them, or perhaps another person who is in the conversation.
5. Take Business Cards
Often they will allow you to pass your business cards around the room during the meeting. So take a lot of them, and don’t expect any back 🙂
I can still never believe it when someone turns up, with no business cards. These are a way people will remember you and be able to reach out to you.
If for whatever reason you don’t have business cards, then make sure you take theirs and then do the next step asap…….
6. Follow Up After Meeting
This is one thing so many people forget to do and it’s so powerful. After the meeting, either that day, or the next. Follow up with the people you met, and the leader of the group. Let them know that you had a great time (if you did), and that you look forward to returning. Arrange a time to meet for a coffee, so you can find out more, and further build that relationship.
So now with those top tips, you will be a networking superstar. Go and enjoy the meeting!
Let me know how you get on, leave a comment below!