This week, I am preparing for a number of sessions I’m delivering on The Art of Networking for the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce and EEEGr. These vary from 20 minutes to 4 hours. So I thought I’d write a short blog on my Top 10 tips.

You may have heard before, people do business with people they know, like and trust. These 10 tips will give you a greater chance of getting to that point quicker. It really frustrates me when people turn up to Networking events and hide in a corner, or only speak to people they know, or are preoccupied with their world. You and / or your employer have made an investment in time and money for you to be at this event, so why not make it count?

Here’re my Top 10 tips to get the best from your Networking:

  1. Do your homework – make sure you are attending the right events in the first place. If your primary reason is to get more customers, make sure your potential customers are in the room.
  2. Get your pitch right. Some events give you a minute or so to say something about yourself – make sure that counts, get something succinct and memorable and practice it. Use this when you meet people.
  3. Arrive with a smile – People want to work with positive people, if you bring all your woes to the party, that’s not you.
  4. Keep your mobile out of sight, don’t be that person on their emails in the corner – if you’re gonna show up then show up, deal with your emails later!
  5. Ask open questions to build rapport quicker – try something like “What gets you out of bed in the morning?” rather “What do you do?”
  6. Listen – we all like to talk about ourselves but find out what the other person’s needs are, show them some attention.
  7. Be yourself – don’t try to be someone you are not, just be natural, unless you’re an ass, then be someone else!
  8. Have two story’s ready about yourself – one personal, one that shows off your business.
  9. Read the signs – if the other person starts looking at their watch or over your shoulder, they might be ready to move on. Make it easy and politely move on yourself.
  10. Follow up, follow up, follow up. There’s no real point in steps 1-9 if you don’t follow the conversation up – even its just great to meet, you’re continuing the dialogue

Why not try these out at your next networking session and measure the results compared to your last outing. Measure how many more meaningful connections you made.

Frightened of networking so these tips don’t really help? Try using them anyway, they will really help overcome your anxiety. In a future article, I will publish some tips to help you deal with your anxiety and get even more out of your networking.

Thanks for reading,

Ian Hacon, Founder of Yellow Brick Road and Co-founder of Bite the Cherry Venture Coaching