Article by Jane Tweedy, Business Advisor, Western Sydney Business Centre
Last week we covered why you should network, and where to find networking groups. Today we cover what to do during and post the networking event.
What to do at a networking group?
– Walk in with a smile!
– Your aim of networking should be relationship building – get to know, like and trust. Sales are unlikely to happen from the first few meetings – this is normal!
– Take business cards and maybe flyers BUT don’t hand out unless requested!
– Typically you are greeted by organisers so they will explain how things work and may help to connect you with other members.
– Rather than stand alone look for a group of 3 or more people and politely ask to join their conversation
– Some groups will have all members introduce themselves. Prepare versions of your elevator pitch (we’ll cover this in a future article) – from a 10 sec “one on one” introduction through to 30 second to 2 minute group introductions.
– if you’re new and not sure if the meeting is reflective of normal, ask! Sometimes events clash and numbers are down or the normal organiser is away. They may deserve another chance!
After the event
– If you say you’ll do something – do it! Send that article link, email or call to arrange that coffee catch-up!
– Consider if the group meets your needs (which may be different to your original intention). Be careful not to write off a group too quickly (they may know your perfect connection), but also consider if the ongoing time commitment is justified. Allow for attending all meetings for that group, plus travel, plus actioning follow ups and meetings post event.
– a good policy can be not to go to another event until you’ve made all the contacts from the last, but for core groups try to attend every meeting.
– if suitable after building rapport with the organiser, see if you can have a speaking spot. These can be a brilliant way to showcase your business. Make sure the talk will provide real value to the attendees.
Next week we’ll cover how to network online.