Electronic communications. Digital platform. Social media channels. ‘I have no time.’ ‘I’m too busy.’ ‘I have a million things to get done.’ There are numerous reasons, both valid and perceived, as to why networking and meeting with people in person have become increasingly rare. We say it’s time to buck that trend though as nothing beats good, old-fashioned face-to-face contact!
Whether your aim is new business and attracting new customers, or wanting to increase your network of industry experts and boosting your industry knowledge, there’s a lot to be said for meeting and having conversations in person.
We’ve pulled together some top tips on how to network effectively, ensuring that it is time well spent.
- Read up / research
Doing some legwork ahead of an event means you are clear on what the event offers in full and allows you to consider what exactly you want to get from it. Who do you want to meet and speak with? What information do you want people to take away about you? Have a think about your main aims and go for it!
- Bring your business cards
Business cards have stood the test of time, and withstood the digital onslaught, for good reason. They are compact, easy and effective. Memorable and attention grabbing are always good, just ensure your card reflects your brand effectively.
- Be aware of body language
This applies to both yourself and the people you are hoping to speak with. It could be that they are deep in a serious conversation and it is not the right time to approach, look out for – and practice – open body language where people are clearly looking to speak with and engage with people. Also, and this may seem obvious, smile!
- Avoid the sales pitch approach
We all know the reasons that people attend these events and while sales and new business are very high on the agenda, if not top, these events are about collaboration and learning. Nurture relationships and have two-way conversations, don’t reel off your key messages and sound like an ad.
- Work the room
It is easy to get into conversation with just one person and remain speaking to them throughout an event, but fight the urge to do this – unless it is the one person you went to go and see and is the only reason you are perhaps there. Force yourself to join and leave a number of conversations. (We know this is much easier said than done!)
Connect with the people you met at the event, even a simple ‘great to have met you’ style message can work nicely. Building your network with relevant and interesting contacts is what it’s all about, and while it is often a case of playing the long game it is worth it in the end.
All in all, practice makes perfect – get out, meet people, make opportunities happen and you never know, you might even enjoy it!
Know a great networking event you want to shout about in Bradford, Ilkley, Leeds, Sheffield, heck, anywhere in Yorkshire? Let us know on Twitter!
The image is courtesy of Pixabay.