If you have ever wondered how to network effectively in today’s digital age where everyone knows of each other, either directly or indirectly, then this brief article will hopefully be of interest to you.
The trick to good networking is to work the floor, seek out the right people, avoid time wasters and avoid these four sins. If you do this and know your stuff, then the rest should fall into place.
Not attending events
I was recently at the Nottingham Digital Summit and found myself at a stand from where I could observe different approaches to networking by some of the Midland’s top marketing, tech and creative talent. It was as I watched hundreds of people exchanging ideas and businesses cards that I realised something; the only people who did not gain new knowledge, points of view or contacts from the event were those who didn’t attend!
There are various business events on in the UK or wherever you are, just have a look on Google and Eventbrite and you will be surprised at how many free and paid-for events are taking place every week. Also the Marketing Week hosts and promotes various events during the year, the main event this year, Festival of Marketing, is set to be bigger than ever.
Not talking to people
Once you’re at the event go and talk to people! At the end of the day, you’ll want to gain some new contacts and everyone is in the same boat as you on that day. Make small talk, you never know this could lead to a new business contract or partnership in the long-term.
Not having any clear goals
Before talking to the various, interesting people at just any event, ask yourself what do you want to gain from the interactions? Are you looking for just new contacts or actual leads for your business ? Maybe you’re there to find a new employers? If you’re looking for leads where are the most likely leads for you at the event? Then attend the sessions they attend.
Here is a tip; if you’re business caters to young people, then look for the creative looking, fresh-faced individuals and avoid the older individuals as lovely as they might be. This sounds simple, but it’s easy to stay within your comfort-zone at an event where you don’t know anyone. At the same time, if you’re looking to introduce your business to new companies, you’re best off to speak to older individuals maybe with say (as cheesy as it sounds) nice watches and good shoes who are more likely to be Owners, Directors or senior decision makers.
Not having your business card on you
You never know who you will bump into and you can’t always guarantee that you or the other people will have a piece of paper and a pen on them. Therefore, having a business card that you can provide to the people you’ll meet will be is a must for someone who is networking. In the next 20 years business cards might be a thing of the past, but not just yet !