Do you find networking events intimidating? Do you feel that more often than not, they are defined by a small talk and canapés? I'd love to share with you my personal networking tips that result in new customer orders and future prospects.
We are told that networking is one of the best tools to success that opens doors to many great opportunities. It is true, but how can you take the best advantage of it without having a panic attack. This article is dedicated to those who find networking events awkward and wishes for every event to be as fruitful as possible! I'm about to share with you one of my recent experiences at business networking event in Lane Cove and how a few simple steps helped this to be my most successful networking event to-date.
Tip 1: Be on time or a few minutes earlier
Turning up on time would be my first tip to a fruitful networking. In saying this, I haven't followed my own advice this time. Turned up at least 20 minutes late and solo to a room full of new faces. Being a few minutes earlier allows you to start mingling with a handful of people and by the time its a full house, you are on a ball! In my case, I had to act swiftly. So if you are being late to a networking event, the next tip is definitely for you.
Tip 2: Stand out from the crowd
Now that I had only a limited time to meet as many businesses as possible, have a meaningful conversation and exchange the contact details - I had to think fast. Lucky for me, the event speaker, Vivian asked for participation from the audience - this was my chance. Whilst everyone was still looking around, thinking if they should or shouldn't raise their hand and face the crowd, I thought this was my chance! My task was to introduce my business to the audience in a couple of sentences and explain how my business was different from my competition. I was ready for this!
Tip 3: Be interesting and concise
Being passionate about my business helps when delivering a speech. You don't need to ask me twice... Let your passion be heard, stay interesting but please be concise. I always find that the first brave participant will be most remembered, so don't shy away as this can be your only chance.
Tip 4: Give and take
Networking isn't self-serving. It's meant to be mutually beneficial so give before you take! Offer your audience something that they want. In my short business introduction I saw a few eyes light up so finished by mentioning that I had a few delicious personalised rock candy samples with me to give away and if anyone was interested, I was happy to chat. What happened next was a total success!
Tip 5: Listen and follow up.
Remember at the beginning of this article, I promised the tips for networking without having a panic attack? This is it. At the end of the night when everyone was let out to make meaningful connections, I didn't have to approach anyone; people were approaching me. They were curios and intrigued, and all I had to do was to give them some candy, discuss how we could make their brand delicious and of course follow up the next day.
Networking can be intimidating and here are more helpful tips for you. If you struggle with approaching new people, bring your branded candy to the next event. Branded sticker on the candy bag will have your contact details and will work like a business card. All you need to do now is use this opportunity and speak to them about your business.
To-date this was my most successful networking event that resulted in new candy orders!