Telling the truth about SME life today

Top tips for networking at events

1. Give: Put your own needs to one side and give your full attention to being useful to others… unconditionally. You are far more likely to make a good impression too.

2. Focus: Time is your most precious asset, so selecting the right people to mix with – as well as the right productive methods and places – is crucial.

3. Visibility: Don’t hide your light. Don’t deprive people of your extraordinary gifts. It’s OK to be seen, and “known, liked, valued and respected” – as even more people will seek you out. The best way to benefit from a network is to be generously and visibly helpful in its forum, because it’s not just who you know, it’s who knows and remembers you.

4. Listen: Show you genuinely care by listening and responding intelligently. This takes you into their world. Listening is an incredibly rare talent. Working the room and importuning others with your agenda creates a referral-free zone around you! 

5. Commit: Don’t be flaky – follow up when you say you will, and don’t promise what you won’t or can’t deliver promptly. Don’t let your “yes” be submerged by your inability to say “no”. Commitment is memorable.

6. Facilitate: Prepare some interesting questions, relevant to the group/venue. Be ready to explain succinctly what you do – few will take you seriously if you waffle vaguely, so be really clear what result your business gives people, and also what you’re looking for right now, just in case they ask.

7. Etiquette: Don’t be dismissive or rude to anyone. Whether they appear valuable to you or not, it’s wrong, and they may be best friends with your next prospect! If you’re being helped, you make the running and the phone calls; and after you’ve been helped, always ask “…and what are you looking for that I might be able to help you find ” A “thank you” wouldn’t go amiss either!

8. Relevance: You will be judged by the introductions you make, so make sure there is real value to both parties. Are they at an adequate level of skill/development” Do they have the time  Only refer people you genuinely believe are ready and able to benefit from each other. 

9. Congregation: Even though the core principle of networking is to give and facilitate things for others, it does make sense to do your networking where your own niche market congregates. Not least because you need to be able to speak the same language at the same level. This is where you’re most likely to find joint venturers for mutual benefit.

10. Relationship: To network effectively the main requirement is to be a fully functioning human being with a deep understanding of relationships. Personal development is the main training to undertake.

What have we missed !  What’s your key networking tip” Leave them in the comments box below.

Duncan Cheatle is the founder of The Supper Club and Andrew Ferguson is the founder of www.BreakthroughNetwork.Net. 


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