Make time to network, 70% of new business comes from referrals
If you are nervous or worried just remember so is everyone else.
- Look for someone else on their own and go introduce yourself ‑ help them out too!
- Practise ‑ try to say who you are and what your business does in a few short sentences and then practise saying this out loud SMILE ‑ it works wonders!
- Make sure your body language is open ‑ you can say a lot without speaking.
- Be a GOOD LISTENER ‑you'll be surprised at what you hear.
- If you have a delegate list, look for the people you want to make contact with and find them.
- Don't worry if the person you're talking to isn't on your list, or you haven't even got a list ‑ everyone knows someone.
- Share ‑ effective networking needs a giving approach, don't be afraid to share your contacts and experience.
- If you say you'll do something ‑ do it. Send that information, pass on that contact.
- Bring your business cards
- Ask for business cards ‑ write on the back something to remember the person by: the date, where you met, something distinctive about them
It takes time to build long‑term relationships based on mutual trust and respect.
Whether you are a self‑employed professional or ambitious to succeed in your company, industry or sector, the 'need to know' and 'need to be known by 'is an essential business skill. Networks matter ‑ it's as simple as that. They are part of the corporate survival strategy and a staggering 97% of self‑employed professionals rely on contacts and referrals to get work. Networks enable you to access work, resources and opportunities. They also create a sense of community and rapport and allow you to share experiences with like‑minded people.
Preparation is essential. Proactive business relationships don't happen just by chance.
- First and foremost have a plan. This really matters. If you don't know why you're doing something, you won't do it well.
- Be positive and outwardly confident ‑ it will make you stand out above others.
- Don't worry if you have butterflies, research shows that over 90% of people feel fear about walking into a room full of strangers.
- Rehearse entering the room. Pause on the threshold and look around. Don't head straight for the bar. Take a few deep breaths. This will calm you down and give you a moment to recall your strategy. Practise your introduction on someone beforehand ‑ even if it is your dog!
- The stronger your greeting ‑ the more memorable it is. By being polite and courteous, you will be unforgettable .
- Go on a charm offensive. Deal with people kindly and sympathetically. Offer to fetch someone a drink, or introduce a stranger into your group.
- Take pride in what you do and be professional. Whatever the occasion, you never know who you might meet.
- Keeping a conversational tone to your voice encourages people to respond to you in a friendly manner Speak slowly and clearly. So often in modem venues there is loud background noise because of the lack of soft‑furnishings. Conversations are hard to maintain above this level of sound, so speak in a way that makes it easier for others to hear what you have to say.