10 Top Tips for Networking Know-How

Networking events can be daunting, particularly if you’re not prepared, so here are some tips to ease the process…


  1. Networking is about farming not hunting – it’s a process that takes time because people tend to buy from those they know, like and trust.
  2. Be well prepared – in the questions you ask, answers you give and the stories you tell. (Think of what would help to build the relationship over time – talking about networking can be a good start).
  3. Do your homework – find out who’s going to be there, research what they’re working on and interested in – this will help demonstrate that you’re the savvy, switched on expert that you are.
  4. Aim to be interesting and memorable – mostly done through giving people “stuff” ie – time, energy, attention, ideas, information, introductions or invitations. Always be thinking how can I help this person? Ask, “Who are useful contacts for you to meet here?”  If you act like the host, people who are agonised at networking events will appreciate it if you introduce yourself and help them feel comfortable.
  5. Prep your opening gambits – You’ll have a number of different ways to describe what you do depending on who’s in front of you. Have these prepared before you go, so that they’re up your sleeve.  Also be able to illustrate with relevant short stories.
  6. Set yourself some goals – if you have some names of people you want to speak to then great, if not aim to speak to 4-5 people you don’t know. Aim to meet 5 people that you’d like to see again.
  7. Knowing who to approach and what to say – when you’re clear on both, walking into a busy room is less overwhelming. There are only ever 6 groups of people in a room – look for the open groups and individuals. Andy Bounds says there are 5 steps to an effective networking conversation – get in, ask about them, talk about you, chat, get out.
  8. Have some answers prepared for the standard questions you’ll get asked. Think about what you want others to know about you.  You have the choice to tell them what ever you want to when they ask what’s new, how’s business etc? What do you want to be remembered for?
  9. Exit strategies – Shall we go and meet some others?;I’ve really enjoyed talking to you…Is there anybody here you’d particularly like to meet?; I’ve enjoyed meeting you yet feel I’ve hogged you for too long…
  10. Follow up – Keep your promises, review your goals – how many new people did you talk to? How are you going to keep in touch – Linked In, Twitter, coffee, other networking events? Make sure you’ve got permission and you’re adding value when you contact them. This will keep you out of the pest and stalker category.

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