Networking is all about building connections with the right people at the right time, which could be key to taking your business to the next level. Get it right, and it can help you recruit new talent, increase sales, meet potential investors and raise your company’s profile. But successful networking is more than just turning up at a networking event or handing out business cards. In this post, we’ll help you navigate the challenges of networking to help you get the most out of every networking opportunity and maximise your success.
Before going to any business event, it’s a good idea to research the organisations and individuals who will likely be attending. This will help you identify the potential networking opportunities in advance and make it easier to approach people during the event. You’ll also need plenty of up-to-date business cards to hand out and your phone to hand so you can easily add the contact details of people you speak to.
Consider your goals
Take some time to think about your goals before you head to your next networking event. Reflect on whether your objective is to promote your brand or business or to swap contacts with people in a particular industry or field. Keep your goal in your mind throughout each event to help you fulfil your objectives more effectively while networking.
With so many people attending a networking event, you must be memorable. Corporate gifting creates valuable touchpoints or improves relationships with existing or prospective contacts. Branded gifts and conference swag will help keep your business in attendees’ minds long after the event. Make sure the gift is relevant to the event or recipient. For instance, IGO promo lighters are great to hand out to contacts in the entertainment industry or at events at clubs and bars.
Use your time effectively
Time can pass very quickly at a networking event or conference. So, ensure you spend the time wisely, getting to know different people rather than focusing on talking to just one individual. Take full advantage of every networking opportunity. If someone asks to swap contact details, do so and follow up with a short message within 24 hours to strengthen this new relationship.
Networking events may seem daunting, but when you exude confidence, you’re more likely to attract people. This will present a professional and capable image and ensure that others at the event pay attention to you. Take an active role in conversations and discussions, and don’t be afraid to speak up about yourself and your business. Exerting confidence will help to make you more memorable to attendees and ensure you stand out. When people approach you, ensure you’re friendly, ask lots of questions about them, and don’t just talk about yourself.
Nurture your existing network
Ensure you don’t neglect your existing network, especially those who helped you reach where you are today. This could be sending a thank you email, forwarding an article that may be interesting, introducing them to a new contact that may benefit them or arranging to meet for a catch-up over coffee. While this will benefit you and your business, it will also help you practice your networking skills.
Leverage social media
Social media offers plenty of networking opportunities. It’s a great way to meet new people and make long-lasting connections. You can use social media to expand your network and business’s reach by commenting on posts, jumping in on trending topics, and sending a LinkedIn connection or direct message.
If you’re planning to attend a networking event or want to take advantage of the day-to-day networking opportunities that come your way, maximise your success by preparing yourself in advance with our tips to network like a boss.