Get your strategy
right so that you meet the right people at the right places.
- Audit your current networking activity and take a close look at
where you network and the return on investment (time and money).
- Make sure you align your networking activity with your business and
marketing objectives making sure you address the question "who do you
want to meet". Then go back to the results from your audit and see if
they match up!
- Be very clear about who you want to meet and why. Niche networking
is very, very powerful.
- Develop an attitude of networking being a long-term investment as it
is all about relationship development.
- Make sure that you structure you networking activity around what
drives the people you want to meet to a networking event.
Once you are attending the right events and meeting the
right people be careful you don't lose your 'brownie points' by not
knowing how to work a room correctly.
- When you arrive at the event, put your business cards in one pocket
and leave everything else at the cloakroom.
- When you first walk into the room, get a drink or some food but not
both at the same time.
- If a delegate list is available quietly stand on your own and
consider whom you want to meet and what you want to talk about.
- If you are looking for a specific person go back to reception and
make sure they have arrived before you start looking for them.
- Never hunt, never sell (there are exceptions to this rule - but they
are rare), never go out hungry for work or a job. Never butt into
a conversation and take over that conversation.
Working the room is one thing - but now you are
face-to-face with another person - your interpersonal skills is what makes
the connection work. Poor people skills will equal no results.
- The first point of contact is the handshake - get it right - make
sure it is brilliant and you will score points on this one issue.
- Create a conversation not an interrogation or a recital of your
- Create fun as well as listening and exchanging ideas and thoughts.
- Develop the relationship so that it gets to the point of the other
person wanting to stay in touch with you. This may mean developing a
personality and image that reflects your values and what you stand for.
- Only go for the business card if the connection is good and can be
developed - on both sides. Write on the card where and when you met,
action points and issues of importance. Just collecting business cards
and issuing general letters is a complete waste of time.