Recently I (Leesa) attended the Women In Business function at the Sutherland Shire Business Development Week and enjoyed learning some practical networking tips which I wanted so share…
Before you go, think about where you are going and what message you are trying to convey. For women in particular the way we dress can have a big impact on this. That is why wearing appropriate clothing is very important.
A good way to get conversations started is by wearing something eye-catching, which can then be used as an ice breaker, plus it helps people to remember you.
Wearing a name badge is also important. Wear it on your right side so it is easy for the other person to see when shaking hands. Take time to notice other people’s name badge and perhaps ask a question about the business name to get a conversation going.
The correct handbag is important. A big bag that you need to search through and that opens up to reveal all of your “little secrets” is not professional. Have a handbag that makes it easy to get your cards or phone etc out easily. It is also suggested that you may get two business card holders – one to give out your cards, and another to collect business cards.
You need to have the right attitude and realistic expectations. Networking is about the other person. It is a relationship building exercise. Listen to the other person – don’t just talk – you want to take the time to learn all about them. Then they are more likely to repay the courtesy.
Set goals – it could be to form strategic alliances, get help or make friendships.
Focus on the Other Person
Here are some suggestions of how to remember what kind of questions you can ask to start up a conversation: FORM
If you see someone alone, talk to them. If they look new, help them, introduce them to others.
If you are standing in a group, open the group up at an angle to allow others to enter the group.
Once you’ve made those contacts, keep them. Strengthen the relationship.
File the business cards and if necessary write something on the back of the cards about the person, such as where you met, what you talked about or what they do.
Send a follow-up email and invite them to join your social media network such as your business’ Facebook page, Linkedin or Blog site.
More than 80% of business is done through networking – so if you haven’t got out there and tried it yet – use these tips as a starting point. You won’t regret it!
If you’d like to free up some time in your busy business schedule so you can get out and network – contact us so we can take care of the finances!
www.samsabc.com.au – Empowering your Business through Superior Financial Management
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