By: George Katsoudas
Effective business networking doesn’t just happen overnight. It requires plenty of time, energy, and loads of patience. Furthermore, business networking involves a lot more than just giving away business cards to random people at networking events.
It is important to know that business networking is a type of marketing strategy that involves building strong relationships with other professionals in your industry. It may be a gradual process, but it is rewarding once you see the positive results slowly coming in.
In addition, networking is not entirely a slow waiting game. There are methods that you can do to help yourself improve and develop your networking skills. And just like with any other procedure, there are do’s and don’ts in business networking events that you should follow as guidelines if you really want to become successful. Here are some of them:
Business Networking Events Do’s:
1. Prepare. You might have heard of the saying, “If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail”. Business networking is not an exception. If you have an upcoming networking event in your calendar, you should take the time to develop a solid strategy. When preparing for the networking event, try to gather as much information as possible about other participants and the event itself. This way, you will be able to come up with questions to ask and will be prepared to start productive conversations with your fellow entrepreneurs.
2. Go the extra mile. In a business networking event, it is necessary to take the active approach to become successful. Do not be afraid to approach and initiate a conversation with the other participants. Always keep in mind that communication is the primary tool that you need in order to share and deliver your objectives to your fellow business enthusiasts. Initiating a conversation may not be an easy task to accomplish, but if you aim to take your business to the next level, being proactive at networking events can make all the difference in helping you establish professional connections.
3. Learn from others’ experiences. Networking is also not just about business. When you join networking events, you can also benefit from gaining valuable new knowledge from the experiences of others. As a first-time business owner, learning from more experienced entrepreneurs can help to increase the chances of your success, generate new ideas and even create new collaborations. Furthermore, listening attentively and learning from others’ success stories can inspire and let you create one for yourself in the long run.
Business Networking Don’ts:
1. Cherry-picking. It is good to set goals and expectations, but you should avoid cherry-picking and be open to new encounters when attending business networking events. Remember that the more you speak with fellow entrepreneurs, the more chances you have to find new and interesting opportunities. The main purpose of networking is to build strong relationships among business owners. Moreover, helping a fellow business owner can go a long way in creating a collaborative and dynamic relationship, which could lead to future opportunities for you.
2. Being Impatient. As mentioned earlier, networking requires time, energy and patience. Some business owners give up too early because they don’t get immediate results after the first few networking events. If you want to succeed, you also need to be patient and work hard to achieve the results you strive for. Moreover, in order to become successful at networking, you also need to be a patient listener.
3. Being Unprofessional. Other than a well-planned strategy, your behaviour during the networking event will also go a long way. Professionalism is important even in the little things you do as a business owner. For instance, if someone is still speaking and you want to share your thoughts, you should let that person finish first. In short, don’t ever interrupt. Wait until you get your turn and politely add your thoughts and opinions. More importantly, being professional is not something that you can learn through a step-by-step instruction. Being professional simply requires politeness and good manners.
All in all, being aware of effective strategies and behaviours to avoid in business networking and networking events will definitely help you maximise your success. Moreover, if you want to have full guidance in your networking journey, Bx Networking for Business will be able to direct your every step. Our networking events can help to equip you with highly relevant knowledge and skills that will help your business grow.