Network ProfessionallyBy Angela Marshall, 8th Jul 2014
Networking is a way of establishing new relationships and is not about selling. It is an opportunity to advertise yourself, plus increase your knowledge and share ideas.
The world has become smaller and life has become fast-paced, therefore strong relationships are more important than ever. We are all in the business of selling and how well we connect with other people will form the basis of our success. “People buy people” and they will interact with people they like and trust. Customers must have confidence in your ability to meet their needs.
Decisions in a company are made by people not computers therefore your success and the success of your company will rely on how well you communicate and interact with other people. Conversation is a skill and like most things it improves with experience and practice. Listening is important and a good listener is the one that will inspire others. Don’t stay with the same person, move on, but do it in a polite way.
Organising Your Networking
Organise how you are going to keep people’s business cards and contact details. Set aside time and prepare what you want from an event. Consider preparing a one-minute speech or presentation, on yourself and think about information you want to ask or get from the other attendees.
Dress to Suit Your Business and Personality
Dress in a style that represents your personality, your company’s brand and your personal brand.
Attending an Event
Many people feel uncomfortable walking into a room full of strangers and some will avoid it. However, it is something we all must do to broaden our business relationships. Whenever you are invited to an event approach it as a good time to network and get to know new people.
Some general Tips:
- Walk in with confidence – Good posture, smile, eye contact, firm handshake and don’t stand so close to a person that you invade their personal space.
- Speak to people you know – Talk to them for a few moments to get a feel of the environment; ask for introductions.
- Introduce yourself to people – give a firm handshake, a smile and a greeting or remark reassures the other person.
- Importance of Giving and Receiving – the easiest way to get what you want is to help others get what they want. In return you will receive advice, knowledge, contacts or information. “Pursue the relationship not the sale”
- Think positively – Know what you want to achieve from the event. Commit the time and make things happen!
- Working the Room – Occasionally you can get a prior list of attendees, identify any people you particularly want to meet, but keep in mind you never know whom other people may know.
- Always be polite and conscious of others in the room and their awareness.
Finally – smile, look happy, socialise and enjoy.