Do you like Networking ? Or do you find it daunting?
I will give you some tips on how to network and how to make it a little easier for you.
So let's set the scene. You walk into a room, and it is filled with lots of business people. It is the first time you have been to a group and suddenly you are filled with dread and embarrassment as you don't know where to go or speak to. Some people are professional networkers, they do it every week, month, or daily. But you are new and unfamiliar with the setup. So you grab a coffee from the refreshments stand and then stand there like a plum.
Your heart is racing, you feel sick and think I should leave, this is not for me. When suddenly someone speaks to you! They ask you "how you are? have you been here before? what do you do?" etc.
You are in, you have made it and it begins to be less daunting. You start to have a conversation with the person who introduced themselves. Now, remember it is a two-way conversation, ensure they get to know you and that you ask them about their business. Engage with them get to know them and their life. Before you know it, you have exchanged business cards and more people have joined in your conversation. You are on a roll!
Make sure you introduce yourself to the new people who have entered the group, don't just stand there and freeze, even a hello and I am "Mel" is sufficient.
So, we have made some new connections, what happens next. Well in most networking groups they have a little time to mingle, then we have what they call "pitches" a time where you can stand up and promote your business. What do you do, how long you have been in business. Throw in who you are looking to help and how you can help. At the end of the 30 seconds remember to say thank you for listening and your name and company name.
You are normally allocated 30 seconds to do this. So before your 30 seconds starts, you hear everyone else speaking and you suddenly begin to panic because you are next, your heart starts pounding, sweaty hands this is normal, just take 10 deep breaths and go for it your time to shine.
Once you have completed your 30 seconds you can relax and listen to the room, you can then find out who you think you could help. Then after everyone has spoken start mingling around the room and speak with people that are of interest to you and how your services may help their business.
If you find that there are already 3 people in a closed circle this means they are having a private chat so maybe go back to them and find some groups that are displaying an open circle and join them. It is daunting but people are friendly and remember everyone is there trying to build their business like yourself.
So you have now finished your networking, you are relieved and buzzing from sharing your business with other professional people and you've made some great connections. You go back to the office and connect with those people. Send them a little message via email or LinkedIn saying "great to see you at the networking meeting would love to connect with you". You then build your network.
Remember the key to networking is to continuing every week or month and find the correct one that suits you and your business. There is no limit on how many networking events you can attend. People will buy from people and if you attend regularly you will make some great connections and grow your business.
Hope that helps!