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FRESH FRIDAYS: Schmoozing your way to success

Networking doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but it’s crucial for business success, and could even shape your future career.  The good news is, it’s a skill that can be learnt – with enough practice, it’ll become second-nature.

Bringing people together…

For any company, hosting events should be a no-brainer – a great way to meet people in the industry, and a surprisingly powerful business tool. They’re a one of the most effective ways to showcase your talented team, giving clients an insight into your organisation and its unique culture.

Networking is a great form of marketing– helping you to build both your profile, and your company’s. At its best, networking has the potential to boost your credibility, trust, professionalism, knowledge and expertise.

Mastering the skill…

Networking is not always an innate and instinctive quality. It’s an art that can be learned, honed and improved - the process of developing mutually gratifying and advantageous relationships with like-minded people and businesses. It involves stepping outside of one’s comfort zone in order to make the most of those all-important business meetings and events.

Our Networking Do’s and Don’ts…

DO:

  • “Elevator Pitch” – Be quick, concise and accurate when describing your business. Ensure you engage your listener from the get-go and make it memorable.
  • Give business cards –One great little tip is to jot on the back of your card the time and place you met to jog your memory when following up.
  • Follow up – What’s the use of meeting people if you don’t follow up afterwards?
  • Listen and learn – This is a valuable lesson in life and not just business. Take time to learn from others’ experiences.
  • Be patient – Networking is about developing strong, long-standing business relationships. Don’t expect to reap the rewards immediately. Good things come to those who wait.
  • Prepare questions – Anticipate the kind of people you are likely to meet and think about what you would like to ask them - what you’d like to learn from them.

DON’T:

  • Be timid – and only talk to people you already know. Networking isn’t just for the flamboyant big-shots or charismatic colleagues.
  • Cling to one person – The more people you speak to, the better.
  • Be afraid to ask questions – Everyone is scared of appearing ignorant or stupid but there’s no need. The vast majority of people will relish the opportunity to peacock their knowledge and expertise, so make sure you ask as many questions as you can.
  • Avoid overzealous self-promotion – this tactic is more likely to annoy than build valuable relationships.
  • Take Dutch courage too far –Overindulging in the free alcohol is the worst thing you could possibly do, both for your reputation and for your business.

Building strong and effective relationships is essential for your business, and your career. Make the most of networking opportunities, and you will reap the benefits, both on a personal and professional level.