7 Tips to Networking that actually work

Networking online and offline is imperative to every small business and offline business networking has impacted on my success in a big way. Networking is a fab way to meet like minded people, to share success, to discuss what’s not working and to also act as a sign post to support other business owners connecting each others contacts.

I run a networking group through Networking Mummies being Branch Leader for Birmingham. It’s aimed at mums in business but we welcome everyone and children are welcome to many of our meetings too. Before I had the boys I attended many business networking events in the evening, but as a mum we have to find the right work/life balance so Networking Mummies was a great fit as “Guilt-free” networking where mums can bring their children has helped me to meet more like minded mums in business.

Working for yourself can be lonely too and many mums lack confidence so the “traditional” business networking can be a challenge. Many fear the dread of walking in to a crowded room and starting a conversation so I have put together my top 7 tips on networking to help you get started.

  • Be yourself – It’s important to come across genuine and be friendly, as if you are not relaxed because you are pretending to be someone you’re not it will come across. We are all alot more attracted to people who come across genuine so be yourself and smile!
  • No pushy sales talk – Networking is all about relationship building, so be relaxed, get to know people and keep things conversational. Other people are much more likely to do business with people they like and trust, rather than people who go straight in to pitching their business.
  • 60 second pitch – It is important to have ready a clear concise 60 second summary of your business including who your target market is. This is so when you get asked others understand clearly what you do and what you need to grow your business.
  • Share your Passions – We all love stories and enthusiasm, so share your story of why you went into business and ask and listen to their story too.
  • Seeking how you can help others – Good eye contact and listening to others you meet shows a genuine interest. I am a big believer in listening to others to find out exactly what they do and who they need to be connected to, I then think of who I know that they could be connected to that would bring a mutual benefit. This then helps others to do the same for me, remember networking is about building relationships.
  • Don’t leave it to chance – Be clear of who you need to be connected to because as you build relationships it’s important to know exactly who you need to be connected to so you can build your business
  • Follow up – This is one of the most important tips. You have made some great contacts where you can support each other and conclusions you agree to must be followed up. I always try and follow up with people within a week of meeting them as otherwise it’s a wasted opprtunity as they may forget you.

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