Welcome to my new series “Tuesday Tips”. Snippets of advice from my journey to success that I hope help you on your own journey. Every Tuesday I share #toptiptuesday via Instagram so I am combining regular blog posts with my social media feed. Watch this space!
One of the areas of business life that I struggle with is networking. Well actually, I really don’t enjoy it at all. A room full of people, business cards at the ready, maybe a warm glass of wine in your hand.
I’m not good at small talk, I have a habit of forgetting names as soon as I’m told them but that’s it. I don’t know why I don’t like networking, maybe it’s the whole British stiff upper lip thing.. “one doesn’t like to talk about oneself”.
Networking is an important step in your career path so here’s some top tips to get past those awkward moments when you just wish you could sip wine behind a hat, let’s get you working that room!
With social media being so high on the agenda these days, at a touch of a button you can work the room without even knowing it. If you know who is hosting the event do your research. Look them up on social media. Not in a stalker kind of a way, but so that you are prepared with at least three snippets of information to help you prepare basic opener questions to ask when you meet them.
If it is an event booked via an online site like Eventbrite, then you should be able to see who else is attending. If there is an event hashtag, make sure you engage via twitter so that you can build rapport online before having conversations offline and this is also a great way to do your research to find those people you want to be speaking to.
My biggest tip is it’s easier to talk to people and break the ice by asking about them. Become a good listener at networking events – people will appreciate it
*Don’t forget a stash of business cards, the more unusual the better as they can become a conversation starter when people see them*
I find it hard to answer the question “So what do you do?” as a multi-preneur this takes me a good five minutes to answer! Plan out an answer to this before you arrive at the event. Think about how best to explain your job, your business or your project as if you were in a elevator with that person. If you have this nailed down then you will feel more confident when working the room.
*Arrive early so you’re not walking into a room full of people, it’s less daunting and you don’t have to find you way ‘in’ to group conversations that have already started*
After the event, make sure that you follow up with new contacts on social media or email because it can help strengthen bonds for the next event. Drop them a follow on their social platforms, send a ‘nice to meet you’ email and follow up on the discussions you have had. Remember the contacts you have made, they just might prove useful to you or your business in the coming year, and they might return the favour for you too.
*Don’t feel disheartened if you don’t get a response to your emails. Often people will find the right connections at the right time, keep in touch with the new people you meet via social media*
Use these tips to overcome your anxieties and get the most out of every event you attend. Try not to go to a networking event with a hidden agenda or an end goal in sight. It’s simply starting a conversation without a destination in mind.
Start with smaller networking events where possible and build up to bigger ones. Give yourself a treat for making it through an event, and make sure you follow up with those who you met so that you get the very best out of it.
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