How to take the work out of networking and get great results

How often have you attended a networking event and spent much of the time speaking to the people you went with perhaps leaving with a few business cards that you then pop in a drawer to do something with later?

Although the word “Strategy” is massively overused these days (seen the apprentice?) there are few words that better describe what you need to have to make networking effective.

What is the right strategy for you? Read on to find out how to build your own…

What strategy or plan do you have for turning a networking event into a great opportunity for your business?
Here are 5 top questions to consider to create your plan:

1.) What is your desired outcome?

What do you want from this event? Who would you like to meet? Are you collecting contacts for your database, opportunities for joint ventures, looking for potential prospects, simply improving your presence and awareness that you exist? What other outcome would be better than that?

2.) Who are you at this event?

Are you a credible expert happy to offer free advice and gift your knowledge where it’s asked for, are you a salesperson actively selling your product (not recommended). Are you a connector of people making introductions for others that you meet? Are you an ambassador simply spreading the message that your company exists? Who else do you want to be in this situation?

3.) What is your strategy?

Will you walk up to anyone in the room and say “Hi” without fear of rejection?  How will you join a conversation? How will you introduce yourself? How will you answer the question “what do you do?” ( as a tip try starting your answer with “we/I help people to..….”). How will you exit a conversation without feeling that you’re being rude? Are you there to meet a specific person if so who in the room can introduce you or how else will you meet them? What connections have you previously missed out on because you didn’t have a strategy and what can you do different next time?

4.) What energy are you bringing into the room?

You have probably had that experience when a certain person enters a room and it’s like the energy gets sucked out the moment they walk in (I call them energy vampires). Even when  you’re in a great mood you seem to feel less happy after spending time around them.

You’ll probably have also experienced that feeling when someone enters a room and you just know that someone special has arrived even without seeing them. They’re the one smiling and having a great time that everyone wants to be around.

Which will you be? The fastest way to find out is to listen to what you’re saying to yourself (yes we all have a little voice inside our heads it’s not just you). Are you saying .. “Oh no, not another boring networking even, what a waste of time, I never meet anyone good, I hate these things” (this will guarantee that your energy is negative and not attractive to others) or will you think “ Yay, another opportunity to make new friends, see old friends and maybe meet someone who could change my life forever?”  You decide.

5.) What will you do after the event?

Drop the business cards in a box and add them to your to do list? Phone the people you connected with and book a meeting? Email them? Add them to your mailing list? Add them to your CRM system? Connect to them on LinkedIn? What else do you plan to do now that you’ve met them?

Here’s some top tips to make networking effective:

- Marketing is not Networking and networking is not selling.

- It’s not a numbers game it’s a relationship game

- It’s not how many you know or who you know it’s how well you know them

- You have longer than 60 seconds to connect

- Don’t sell  - it’s just annoying – book a meeting to do that another time.

- Help others get what they want (introduce them to others)

- Take your Diary so you can book a meeting for a more suitable time.

- Take a pen – write a note on people’s business cards, such as: call next Wed for a meeting.

- Don’t shove business cards at people. Wait for them to ask or at least ask if they’d like one.

- Research the event – who’s likely to be there that you’d like to meet and who can introduce you?

- Never be afraid to start a conversation – they’re there to network too and will be quite pleased that you have.

- Look for the person in the room who has the biggest presence and go and introduce yourself.

- Be interested in them – what are they looking for at the event, what brought them there.  

- HAVE FUN and stay in a great state – people like to be around people who are in a great state.

For more tips and ideas on how to enjoy selling more, sign up for our free monthly Brain Friendly Nuggets in 100 words or less  at