The word 'networking' often evokes many negative feelings and emotions.
'Scary' 'daunting' and 'intimating' often spring to mind, however on a more positive note, it is an excellent way of building connections and relationships with potential clients and associates in a short space of time.
Recently, I attended the Red Magazine Network event. Aside from excellent canapes and a rather attractive glass of Champagne on arrival, there was a large room buzzing full of powerful, creative and dynamic women which could be viewed as empowering or terrifying.
The speakers were hugely inspiring as always, giving practical tips to move forward and overcome challenges.The speakers were hugely inspiring as always, giving practical tips to move forward and overcome challenges.
Here are my top five tips to get better at networking.
1) If the word 'networking' has negative connotations for you, rename the evening to something that feels more comfortable. Set a realistic intention for yourself i.e. I would like to speak to at least 3 people I don't know.
2) Wear something that makes you feel comfortable and like you. If a power suit and sky scraper heels are not for you, then don't do it. Dress appropriately for the occasion and make it your own.
3) Think about your hands. Most networking events ask you to master the juggling act of holding your drink, taking a canapé, carrying your bag, exchanging business cards and shaking hands. So you don't have to join the circus, plan in advance what you are going to take with you and keep it to a minimum.
4) Have your business card to hand. Make sure it is not burrowed at the bottom of your bag. This phone case is particularly useful as you can store cards inside, that way you will always have a card with you. It is important the business card represents your brand with clear, up to date information.
Moo.com never fail to impress.
5) Follow up. Take action and follow up on the leads the day after the event. In our busy lives where we come into contact with lots of people, it is most effective to make contact quickly. Keep it light, don't hound and approach people from the point of view of giving, i.e. 'Here is a link to something we discussed on Tuesday'. Don't immediately ask and approach with the intention to take. Build the relationship slowly and the two way traffic will arrive shortly.