Networking may seem daunting if you have never done it before, but there are tricks you can have up your sleeve to make it much easier. Don’t feel you have to sell, sell, sell the first time you meet someone – in fact, this will be seriously frowned upon. Business is about building relationships and the old adage of people buy from people is oh so true.
Attend networking events with the idea that you are going to meet people and look for opportunities to help others. Have a two way flow of information – as well as telling them what you can do for them, ask what they can do for you. Gather advice and information, offer contacts and advice in return. People are more likely to remember you if you gave as well as took from the situation.
I come from the same school of thought that Bridget Jones has when it comes to networking etiquette – that of “introducing people with thoughtful details”. For anyone that has seen the Bridget Jones films you will know the scene I am about to para-phrase, if you haven’t seen these fantastically funny films then use your imagination and put yourself in Bridget’s shoes …
Bridget: “Perpetua, this is Mark Darcy. Mark’s a prematurely middle-aged prick. Mark, this is Perpetua, a fat old bag who spends her time bossing me about.”
OK then maybe this is what you mean, but it doesn’t really help anyone if you say it! Bridget’s actual introduction went more along the lines of: “Perpetua. This is Mark Darcy. Mark’s a top barrister, he comes from Garth and Underwood. Mark, this is Perpetua, one of my work colleagues.” A brilliant introduction which gives Perpetua and Mark a starter-for-ten when they strike up a conversation.
Mark’s response was not exactly what Bridget was counting on when Natasha joined them: “Natasha, this is Bridget Jones. Bridget, this is Natasha. Natasha is a top attorney and specialises in family law. Bridget works in publishing … and used to play naked in my paddling pool.”
Oh well, you win some you lose some!