BLOG: 5 Tips for Networking Effectively
Huda Mamoun, Senior Business Advisor, The Women's Organisation
Networking is crucial for building new business leads and finding positive business connections. Using a combination of online and offline networking is a great way to ensure you are covering all bases, but just turning up at an event with your business cards or signing up to an online networking site such as linkedin is not enough. Here are 5 tips to ensure you are making the most of networking opportunities.
Networking Hints and tips
FOLLOW UP - Make an effort to follow up conversations or introductions later and never promise what you cannot deliver. If you say you will telephone someone in two weeks, make sure you do so. Similarly, when you collect business cards, make sure you have a plan for maintaining contact with people in order to encourage further meetings or invitations to events.
EXPERIMENT - Experiment with your networking; go to events that you would not normally attend. Sticking to the same few can have its advantages, but you also running the risk of getting too comfortable and forgetting to talk business. Checking out different events or sites you haven’t used before will expand your network by making it more varied and diverse.
PLAN - Always network with a goal in mind. Plan conversation topics that are appropriate to the people and environment. Which services are key to promote? Better to chose a key message than bombarding people with so much information that they can’t even remember what you do. Is there someone you are trying to reach? Let people know. You never know who knows the person you are after. Networking is more than the person in front of you, it is who they know too.
TAKE GENUINE INTEREST - When trying to establish rapport, do more listening than talking; recognise that people like to talk about themselves and take an interest in them. Often it is through listening we realise how we can help that person with our services. Be sincere about it though. Nothing worse than someone pretending to listen while looking over our shoulder for someone more interesting.
BE GENEROUS – Where you can, share your network. Networking is reciprocal; it is as much about giving and sharing as receiving. Helpful people are like gold in business. You will find good connections come back to you if you can help them too.
If you would like more help with your networking skills, The Women’s Organisation are running a ‘How to Network Effectively’ day. Come along to get practising! Or check out or linkedin course and Business Club women in business network for extra help.