Business Networking 101

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Working Wednesday: Business Networking 101

For most, when we talk about "Business Networking" it sends shivers down their spines. When you Google Business Networking the definition that comes up is "an effective low-cost marketing method for developing sales". To me that sounds dreary.

Yes, business networking is an excellent way to generate business development as people like to do business with people; but this does not mean it needs to be a feared, tiring and sometimes boring event. If this is how you feel, turn that feeling around and see it as an opportunity to meet "your" people. By this I mean the people who can help you and your business, or who you can help. 

At these events, meeting people, getting to know their company/service or product and listening to their needs, then explaining how you can help is much more favourable than having your polished sales pitch ready to throw at anyone who will listen. Show a real interest in the people around you and ask great questions, if you do this you will be more memorable.

The most important thing to remember is that "there is no such thing as a waste of time" if you aren't lucky enough to get a hot lead, or that big client you wanted, you have experienced and learned. For every person you speak to you become braver to initiate conversations, now don't "work the room" you are not there to gather as many business cards as you can physically fit in your pockets, you are there to strike up meaningful and lasting relationships with people. These are the people that will possibly refer you to a potential client.

Another thing to ease you into these situations is that even the most seasoned networker (you know the person I mean, they seem to have it together at all times and know exactly what to say and when, they are usually the people with a flock around them) are nervous too. You are not alone! But if you notice, these people smile and engage, they use that nervous energy and turn it into excitement, excitement is contagious. 

So, that event you don't want to attend, go. Wear a smile, know your service or product, show a genuine passion and enthusiasm, and listen to others. You'll leave a lasting impression which makes following up that little bit easier.

Happy Networking!