As much as I like the free champagne and canapés, you do get tired of it after a while. What I never get tired of though is networking.
Wikipedia defines business networking as “a socioeconomic business activity by which groups of like-minded businesspeople recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities”.
Networking is not only a powerful tool when trying to score yourself a new job. It is THE most powerful tool if you are looking to find investors or, to win new customers.
I love meeting new people whom do either the same job or similar to me, and I love hearing their interpretation of their role.
I also love hearing how people got to where they are and where they want to go… Ambitious people inspire me, as do people whom are actually interested in other people and not just for their own selfish gain. I love people, and its for that reason, I love networking!
Finding an event to network at isn’t difficult. Eventbright runs an event to suit every interest and if you can’t find one that suits, make your own. I run an networking evening for Event Managers, you can sign up below!
If the thought of networking terrifies you.. don’t fret! Here are my top 5 tips to ensure you network like a pro:
- Always, always have a business card handy. Professionally presented (i.e not just laying loose in the bottom of your handbag)!
- I can say this because I am a woman. If you are trying to infiltrate a conversation and need an opening line go for.. “Am so sorry to butt in but I had to ask you where you got your skirt, dress, handbag etc”… (flattery works every time)
- When you finally get talking, always repeat the persons name. People love that.. It makes them feel important!
- I always say something completely random that reflects my personality. It may not be the most professional approach but I can guarantee I know more people than most and they remember me because I bring my personality to every conversation.
- If you drink then enjoy a drink. I don’t feel comfortable around people that don’t drink. I think its pompous. Again, this is my opinion but I always relate better to people who aren’t afraid to let their hair down.
So go forth and network. My father taught me when I was very young that you will always come across people that think they are better than you. They aren’t! You are the most important person in the world and don’t let anyone make you feel intimidated!
Try and remember this next time you feel shy or not worthy to contribute to a conversation… go forth and network! You have only things to gain… I promise!