Networking: Not just for networking events
“It’s unlikely that the really important people you want to meet are hanging about at special ‘network’ events.”
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There’s plenty of capital that can come from networking events.
After all, the people attending are there for exactly the same reason you are – to make new contacts. An ever growing black book is essential in business, so events aimed at just that purpose are… frankly, fantastic.
But, networking isn’t just for scheduled events. It’s unlikely that the really important people you want to meet are hanging about at special ‘network’ events. They may be at the conferences but they’re much more likely to be in the bar, or perhaps you’ll see them in the lift of your hotel – or perhaps at a shopping centre. To make the most of that encounter, you’ll need to be prepared.
Prepare to network anywhere
Pretend you’re in that scenario where you’ve run into a contact you want to make while you’re in the lift. What would you need to make the impression you want?
It’s actually rather simple. You need something with your name and contact details on it (commonly known as a business card) and your business spiel. Well, those things and a firm belief in yourself and your business.
And, once you’ve made that connection, then you need to ensure you follow it up within 24 hours to cement your new connection.
But, mostly, it is about taking the first step and putting yourself out there. While that may be the fear that networking events remove, there are plenty of benefits to jumping into a chance meeting with a new connection.
There’re fewer people to compete against – you can take your time to explain whom you are and what you do. You’re not at the mercy of all your competitors who’re also in the room.
The timing is all yours – whether you have 2 minutes and then you need to scamper, or you’ve got half an hour, you can fill what you have and then disappear (without forfeiting the rest of the event).
You’re more likely to make an impression – most people are unlikely to meet in the same lift in the same way. And, don’t forget confidence always tends to make a positive impression.
You may go months before running into a contact you want to make, but it could just as easily be this afternoon. You’ll want to be ready; why not take a moment to prepare yourself for chance networking encounters.
- Have your business cards ready. Order some if you’ve not got any and make sure you’ve got your details written down and ready to go if you’ve not got.
- Prepare your speech. Do you know what you’d say if you ran into an important contact? Put it together now.
- Remember to check yourself – always try to make yourself presentable. Even if you’re on your way to the gym, you may just find an extra moment to put yourself in order makes all the difference.
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And, don’t forget to post your best networking tip below. You never know who’ll respond!