How Do I Get Better At Networking?

Illustration: Networking

How Do I Get Better At Networking?

Your enterprise might be in its infancy, or you might be looking for new channels for business, whatever your reason, networking can open a lot of doors for the fledgling entrepreneur.

The old adage “It's not what you know, it's who you know” is still important, and networking is a good way to get to know the right people.

Avoid it and you'll do your business a disservice. But it can be daunting as a newcomer and you might fluff your first few attempts.

However, it is possible to get better at networking over time. Keep these tips in mind.

Set Networking Goals

Before you enter a networking event set yourself some small goals.

These can keep you focused and ensure you are going into the event with the right attitude. It could be that you’ll collect three cards from other business owners, or you might promise yourself you’ll speak about your business and hand out your own card to at least five people.

Hit your targets, and then try pushing those boundaries a little and see where it takes you.

Pretend

This may sound a bit strange, but it’s the word networking that sometimes throws people into a panic. Try and pretend you’re not going to a networking event and merely going out to meet new friends or potential colleagues.

View it as a social event for your business and then you’ll be much less stressed and intimidated.

Prepare

If you’re prepared you’re less likely to be flustered. Research potential groups for contacts who may be beneficial for your business and make a point of interacting with these contacts.

The more you know about the event and its attendees the more at ease you’ll feel. Even if you just recognise a couple of faces you’ll begin to feel more relaxed and able to discuss business informally.

Listen and Learn

Less forward and confident people can make great use of their ears! Most people want to talk, be brash and get their idea out there.

  • But if you listen more than you talk then you'll be perceived as receptive.
  • You'll also begin to understand the challenges other businesses are facing.

Before you know it you’ll find ways you can support or help your new contacts in ways they had never imagined.

Practice your Pitch

In some groups every member gets a chance to introduce themselves and their business. This is enough to put plenty of people off as it is extremely stressful standing up in front of a room of strangers, especially if you’re trying to promote yourself.

Again the only way to make this a positive experience is to practice and test it out as much as possible. Introduce yourself and your business in a positive and inviting way.

Follow Up

All of your networking will be for nothing if you get no business or viable connections out of it.

You need to keep on top of it and most importantly you need to follow up. There’s nothing wrong with being eager and contacting those people you’ve chatted with about further business. If you don’t keep these relationships alive then you’re not actually networking at all and you will be forgotten.

Networking is just another way of marketing your business and potentially finding customers and experienced contacts who can be used to your advantage.

 

Category: Internet Business Blog |



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