"How to be a Successful Networker"
by Julie Hanson


Networking has really moved into the 21st Century, with offline events that you can attend and also online networking clubs that you can join. The aim is to connect with people who will provide value and connections to your business. This may or may not result in a sale or somebody joining your business, but I believe the aim is to create Strategic Alliances. Thus extending your reach, you just never know who somebody may know. They could introduce you to a real super star for your business.

When I attend networking events, my aim is to meet as many people as possible and to collect their business cards. That way I don't have to pitch them directly up front, which I sometimes find a bit offensive.

I believe there is a way to get the most out of a networking event and a right and wrong way to do things.

Be punctual!

Make sure you know the start time of the event and how long it will take you to get there. Allow for traffic problems and make sure you have some contingency built in. There's nothing worse in turning up late for an event, everybody is already chatting and you have to attempt to get into conversations that have already been started. If you are a bit nervous about networking then this is the most difficult way to do things. If you turn up early you will be there when people start to come into the room, therefore people will automatically talk to you. This makes things a lot more comfortable and a lot easier for you.

Dress Professionally

This doesn't mean that you have to wear a suit necessarily, although I think that helps to create a good image. If you're dressed for success then people will know that you are in business. When you are at a networking event you are the only thing that is on show for your business. First impressions tend to stick so if you dress to impress then people will remember that. They will get an overall professional view of you and your business.

Smile!

This may seem like an obvious one but it's so important. I'm a bit of a ‘smiler' and tend to smile a lot, people always say that I'm very easy to approach as I seem friendly. If you are in a room full of people and you look approachable then people will tend to want to chat to you. It sometimes amazes me that people look so miserable sometimes, I would never go up and chat to them.

Be Prepared

It's good to understand what sort of an event that you're going to in advance. Make sure that you know if you're required to do a 1 minute pitch about your business. If you prepare this in advance you will ensure that you get talk about the USP's of your business. If you just do it off the cuff you may go on too long or not have enough to say! It's also important to understand your audience, so make sure you know what sort of people are attending the event and make sure your pitch reflects that. Target it towards them.

Don't pitch directly

Of course if it's the sort of event that you can pitch directly with a 1 minute introduction, then that's absolutely fine. But if you're meeting people and just chatting it's always better to build a rapport with them and exchange business cards. As I said at the start of the article I hate it when people pitch directly to me, so I don't like to do it to anybody else. You will build a much better relationship if you get to know somebody a little bit first.

2 ears and 1 mouth!

Make sure you listen more than you speak. People love to talk about themselves and their business, so you can find out a lot about somebody this way. Find out how their business is going, what are the aims for their business, is there anything else they'd like to be doing. You can then find out if they are a suitable candidate for you and your business.

Follow up

Once you've met all these people and connected with them you need to keep in touch. Perhaps send an introductory email to them to start the rapport again. They may be interested enough to click onto your website to have a look at your business. Or you could perhaps mention it to them to see if they'd be interested to take a look. These are just a couple of rules that I stick to when I'm out and about networking. I think the most important thing is to enjoy yourself and you will attract the right sort of person to network with.

by Julie Hanson, (c) 2008

Contact the Author

Julie Hanson coaches people on how to build a part time business from home to create wealth. To learn more take our Free Tour at: http://www.successandwealth.co.uk

Julie Hanson

julie@successandwealth.co.uk
Site: http://www.successandwealth.co.uk

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