Most people dread networking. The very word makes them anxious and worried. Maybe this is the reason social media is so popular. However, nothing compares to face-to-face networking through the many business networking groups or chambers of commerce.
Once you start meeting people in person, you can really begin to grow your business. Here’s how you can approach networking without panicking:
- Pretend that you are just visiting friends. When you approach networking this way, you won’t put too much pressure on yourself, you’ll feel more relaxed, and others will find it much easier to talk with you.
- Be prepared:
- Take some business cards for handing out.
- Prepare a short introduction about your business in advance. A good business introduction includes what you do and the benefit that people can expect from working with you. Don’t simply say, “I’m a realtor,” or “I’m a graphic designer.” Instead say something like this: “I use my skills in real estate to help people find their dream home,” or “I use my 20 years experience in advertising, graphic design and website design to help my clients to double and triple their business.” You’ll know you’ve done a great job when people say, “How do you do that?” or “Wow! Can you help me double my business?”
- Ask questions. Even if you are shy, a great ice-breaker is to simply ask, “Hello, my name is …. What do you do?” Another great question is “If I were at a business meeting, what sorts of things might I hear that would let me know they would be a good referral for you?” or “What sorts of companies do you like to work with?”
- Know who you’d like to work with. If there are particular kinds of companies that are good strategic alliances for you, like CPA’s or attorneys, it’s helpful to know this in advance. This way you can focus your time with these sorts of people when they are attending the event.
- Follow-up. As sales trainer and motivational speaker Brian Tracy, says: “The fortune is in the follow up.”
- If you promise to do something, be sure to do it. When someone is interested in your business, stay in touch or send the information you promised.
- One of the very best ways to get to know people is to invite them for coffee. Most people love to talk about their business, and meeting outside of a networking event is a great way for you both to learn more about the others’ business.
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This article is published by Will Sherwood | The Sherwood Group |Website Design | Graphic Design | Marketing Communications: The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising, graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering, Now what do we do?” We are located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
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By Robert Sababady 03 Oct 2015
My experience working with people who feel anxiety when they attend a networking event is that they don’t understand the context. i.e.:
A networking event is where people go to meet other people. Everyone is expecting either to meet someone or to be met by someone. It’s like going for a walk with your dog. The dog is expecting you to walk him around and not just stand outside the door. You are expecting the dog to walk with you and not sit down on the front porch and refuse to move!
The other type of problem is where people just stand and wait to be approached. Coming back to the dog walk comparison, it is like sitting in your chair at home and hoping that your dog will come to you and ask you to take him for a walk! This happens sometimes, but most of the time it doesn’t. You need to make the first move.
It takes two to tango.” So once the music starts playing reach out to someone. Everyone comes to have a good time at a dance in the same way as everyone comes to a networking meeting to meet someone.
By Goutam Das 03 Oct 2015
Thank you for this excellent article.
By AARTI KOHLI 10 Oct 2015
Thank you for this excellent article. It’s very good.