Ever Wondered How To Get The Most Out of Networking?
Having been to many networking evenings throughout my career, I have picked up a few tips to ensure successful networking:
- Arrive early – people will gravitate towards you rather than having to include yourself in other peoples’ conversations
- If you are attending a sit-down lunch/dinner, try and make 3 new contacts before sitting down to eat. This will help your confidence and set you on the right trajectory for the rest of the event
- Always ask open-ended questions – it sounds simple but always be prepared to ask questions that people will have long answers for – the conversation will then naturally flow
- Look at an attendee list prior to attending, this will mean you can pinpoint who you want to meet and means you can prepare lots of questions for them in advance
- Have your elevator pitch about yourself and your business ready – and don’t forget to practice! This question always gets asked, but for some reason can be hard to answer on the spot. Be prepared to be able to talk about yourself and your business in an interesting and concise manner
- Have your business cards ready and to hand (and lots of them!) – There’s nothing worse than rummaging around in your pockets or handbag whilst you search for that last business card. Keep them in an easily accessible place so you don’t get flustered
- Remember ABC! Always be closing – If you want to do business with your new contact, then arrange a call back or say you will send an email to follow up on your conversations
- Can’t remember what your new contact looks like? Scribble down a short description on their business card; ‘Yellow tie’, ‘glasses’ or ‘bright red dress and blonde hair’ will help you easily identify your new contact for the rest of the day
- Don’t be afraid to join an existing group of fellow networkers – you will be more than welcome to join their conversation; just ask to join and away you go!
- Have fun and smile! Networking isn’t just about making new business contacts, but also about having some fun. Enjoy talking to someone new and getting their opinions on issues that matter to you
Words of wisdom brought to you by Hannah Wharrier, Managing Director at the World Refining Association