When asked by your senior manager to attend a networking event, or if you run your own business and attending is mandatory to increasing your profile, the thought will often send a chill down most people’s spine. But it doesn’t have to be this way; networking events bring a wealth of opportunities for most companies and should only be viewed with a positive outlook. Still not convinced?
Events Manchester Business Networking group has 8 magic points to networking, so no longer will you feel that icy cold shiver down your spine when the ‘N’ word is mentioned, this is your chance to get out there in the big bad business world and make a name for yourself.
Attending a networking event, whether it is local or national, can provide you with hundreds of fresh leads. Every conversation you have is a possible lead, even if they’re not in the same industry or don’t have a requirement for your product or service, they may know someone who does. Leads acquired at a networking event are often much stronger than code calling techniques or door to door sales.
We’ve all heard the saying, ‘it’s not what you know it’s who you know’, and this applies in the world of business as well. The more solid connections you have the further this will get you, so take the time out to chat with people, introduce yourself, provide them with a business card and make sure you follow up with either a phone call or an email when you get back to the office. The best business people are those that are good pen pals, just taking the time out to say hello once in a while will ensure you’re in the forefront of peoples mind, should they have a requirement for your product or service.
#3 Peer-to-peer advice
Have you ever felt slightly out of your depths, needed a little nudge in the right direction or some moral support from someone who ‘has been there done that’? Attending networking events and creating meaningful relationships with peers can provide you with just that opportunity. Most people are genuinely happy to help should you have a query or need advice, and so long as you don’t take advantage of the situation and are quite happy to reciprocate then the advice is likely to keep on coming.
#4 Raised Profile
Nobody is going to know who you are or what you do if you don’t attend an event or even worse, if you attend and you don’t socialise. Make sure you attend the event prepared, take your business cards and have your ‘elevator talk’ prepared, this will ensure you come across, confident and professional. People are more likely to remember you and talk about you if this is the case.
The first few networking events you attend may be terrifying but you will soon get the hang of things after attending two or three. The trick is to make sure you’re prepared, take your business cards and any reading materials you think you may be asked for. If you’re ask a query you don’t know the answer to, don’t panic, just take note of the question and tell them you’ll get back to them. They’ll be thankful that you took the time out to research their query and return to them with an answer.
Even if you don’t get the number of business leads you set out to achieve, you never know what kind of doors your networking events may open. It may be a friend for life, a new business venture or idea, or a speaking or writing opportunity to share your knowledge. All of which can change the business path you originally set out on, who knows where this may lead.
#7 Personal Touch
It’s a digital world that we live in and it’s often hard to get that personal touch with business endeavours any more, however networking events can provide you with just that opportunity. You get to meet people face to face, shake their hand, get to know them, get to know their business and their personal likes. If it came down to choosing you and your company over a competitors, who they’d never met, then you’re more likely to gain their business. The old saying goes, ‘people buy from people’, and this is still true even in today’s digital world.
#8 Preaching what you Practise
Networking events often ask for a guest speaker to offer some advice on their industry or talk about their achievements. Speaking can be nerve racking, however this will give you and your business credibility, your audience will see you as the expert and are likely to be more trusting of you. If you don’t know where to start when preparing a speech consider doing a mind map of ‘frequently asked questions’ or advise subject areas you think your audience will benefit from.
Follow these 8 magic steps and you’ll be counting down the days until your next networking event.
Best of luck!
Author Bio: Leah Jarratt is a regular guest writer for Events Manchester, bringing you the latest business, cultural and sporting events.