When Networking is mentioned we are aware that many people shy away as there is a false presumption that it involves sitting in a cramped room, listening to a boring presentation, followed by awkward, forced small talk with strangers.. and to get what exactly?
As regular attendees, we often try to break the stigma around the word as all networking groups differ in setup and formality and can be the perfect platform for any business if you do your research. But we also want people to consider the benefits of getting involved and realising the potential of having your company recognised amongst your particular business community and achieving your long term goals.
At Newdays, we focus (and enjoy) going out and meeting new people and learning about their business, organisation, charity, etc. Not only is it great for promoting our clients’ names and services, but it also creates an unlimited amount of opportunity for both parties.
Networking should be seen as consciously building up a list of contacts within a group of mutually supportive people. These individuals can be helpful for advice, introductions to their network, business opportunities and more, but it is important to remember that this is a two-way street, so make sure you are offering similar support in return!
To get the most out of networking:
- Find the best networking group for you – There are hundreds around the UK throughout the year which completely differ in industry, formality, time of day etc. so make sure you do your research and attend the most valuable for your business, i.e make sure your key decision-makers are attending your chosen event.
- Know why you are going – Prepare an elevator pitch to help others understand your business and your reason for being a part of the group. These events are not the place to sell your goods or services, so have a reason for others to want to speak to you. How can you help them? Do you want to meet in the future to discuss business partnerships? Do you want to grow your business?
- Consider both short and long terms plans when meeting people – Don’t think about how they can benefit you right now, offer your support to others first (although be careful not to invest too much time to those out for themselves). It will be appreciated and offering yourself will often lead to opportunities in the future.
- Keep your relationships warm – Collect business cards and email or call them following the event and reintroduce yourself, perhaps offer to take them out for a coffee. It is important to avoid breaking contact with someone after they have given you assistance, useful advice or contacts; offer it back or send them an occasional ‘Hope you are well, let’s have a catch up’ message, this is how Networking works and why it works so well, so next time someone mentions attending a networking event please give it a go, we would love to meet you.