I was at The Open recently with a group of people and the subject of networking came up over a beer.
I was listening and it came across as if networking was almost like a science. What to do, what not to do, how to behave, how not to behave. How do you work a room effectively? Should you network online or offline? I was then asked the question I was dreading… “Ewan, what do you think?”
I said: “Networking is simple. People make it more complicated than it needs to be”.
So here is my take on it.
1. Turn up. Business networking is about relationships. If you are not there you cannot build relationships, therefore networking will not work.
2. What do you do? Spend as little time as possible explaining what you do as most of us understand. I am not an IT type person but I understand the frustrations when it doesn’t work, and I know what a printer or bank manager does. So don’t spend time explaining what your job role entails.
3. Tell me who you work for. This instantly helps me find you referrals and introduce you to the right people at the right level.
4. Tell me who you want to work for. You need to know your own target market. If you don’t know, just ask for similar customers to the ones you already have.
If you follow these four tips above you will not go far wrong.