Business Networking

What is Effective Networking?

 

Effective networking may indeed be an art! Or is it a science that can be replicated. Whatever the case, there are pre-requisites to effective networking.

 

  • First, “begin with an end in mind”. What is the purpose of your networking? What do you need to prepare?

  • Prepare your elevator speech on "what you do?"

  • Be prepared to talk about your background and your family and be open about it. Tell enough so that others can relate to you. Find commonality.

  • Talk at a high level if you are not prepared to share too much about your family.

  • Research has shown that talking about family is one of the best ice-breakers because you will never know what common interests the discussions may lead into.

  • Read widely for general knowledge. You can read about anything, including cooking or fish-rearing.

  • Listen more than you speak unless people request to hear more about your gift or passion.

Walking into a networking event is like walking into a forest of trees where each tree is unique not unlike where every individual we meet is a unique person. Sometimes, we feel overwhelmed by the tall trees and at other times, we feel that we seamlessly fit into the environment. Sometimes, we feel overwhelmed by the people we meet and at other times, we feel at ease to seamlessly mix with people around us.
Successful networking events must live up to the expectations of matching business partners to business opportunities in a way that gives the attendees a sense of achievement or accomplishment. I am sure many of us have, at some point in time, felt disappointed attending a business networking event that purportedly promised incredible networking opportunities for business. Then there are networking events that connected us to many people but unfortunately they were unqualified or unsuitable business leads. Business leads are not just about quantity but more importantly, quality.

Organizing Networking Events …

 

From our experience organizing networking events that include global customer sharing events, customer appreciation events, distribution channel events, entrepreneur networking events and business networking, we have 3 networking tips to build a strong networking base:

 

  • Be yourself and be authentic. Pace yourself at your own pace. People will want to do business with people they like and people like them. Build rapport with people when you meet them for the first time. Build lifelong connections and connect on the basis of a “win-win situation” without being too “in the face”.

  • Make an effort to keep in touch. Stay connected with the people you meet through emails, text messages, Whatsapp or even quick phone call to touchbase. The high energy that people exhibit  during networking events very quickly diminish once the event is over. “Strike while the iron is hot” and keep your prospects warm.

  • Be curious and develop an interest in the people you meet. When you develop a genuine interest in others, you naturally develop rapport and trust. Beyond rapport and trust, you should also be reliable, dependable and credible.