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Networking in 2020

Although networking can be daunting for some, it has always been important in business. If you don’t know the right people, finding everyone from clients to patients may be more difficult.

That’s why it’s important to attend networking events, especially if you work alone at home or even if you spend your workdays surrounded by other businesses at a coworking space. Of course, just being at an industry event isn’t enough. 

I have found the below tips very helpful and they have assisted me in making the most out of every networking event.

Listen

The impulse to speak more than you listen is common when networking, heck I still find it hard #chatterbox! However, I have discovered that indulging that impulse is a good way to sabotage yourself. Your goal should be to forge positive relationships and connections. That’s more likely to happen if the people with whom you network get the sense that you’re genuinely listening to them and their story. 

Not sure how to show you’re an active listener? Do a search on ‘listening with your whole body’ as this can help you send the right message.

Don’t Always Talk Business

Talking strictly about your industry is another boo boo that’s easy to make when networking. Remember, you’re actually more likely to develop strong relationships if you treat people like human beings. Asking questions about their lives and engaging with them on a personal level is just as important as talking business.

Revealing personal information about yourself can help get the ball rolling. Experts point out that others are more likely to reveal information about themselves if you’re willing to do so first. #sharingiscaring. You never know, you might both love camping and exploring!

Focus on Quality Over Quantity

Networking events are often busy. They may seem to provide many opportunities to meet people who can help your business thrive. 

You might believe it’s best to connect with as many people as possible during these events but this is a misconception. You could end up speaking with so many people that you forget the important details of various interactions let along leaving with no real connections or relationships made. Focusing on quality over quantity boosts your odds of truly connecting with others.

Follow Up

Meeting someone at a networking event is just the first step in the process of developing a relationship. Once you’ve made the initial connection, you need to follow up with them after the event. I usually touch base over email the next day. 

Be sure to include personal and/or specific details in your follow up email. This shows the person you’re contacting that you actually took the time to listen and get to know them.

Be Flexible

Business owners frequently attend networking events with specific goals in mind. While it’s helpful to have a clear idea about how you want to use your time, it’s also beneficial to be open and go with the flow. 

There may be advantageous opportunities at networking events that you hadn’t considered. Be flexible, and you could develop unexpected relationships that yield major benefits.

Most importantly, of course, be genuine and authentic. You want to present your real self when networking. People will connect with you for you! 

By following these tips and being true to who you are, you’ll use your time at these events as effectively as possible.

If you would like to attend a networking event but unsure which one, I would like to warmly invite you along to BNI Bay City. Our meetings are free and run from 7:15am until 9:00am every Tuesday morning at Little Creatures – Furphy Hall.

It is a structured meeting that allows each member 45 seconds to tell the group about their business. You will also see presentations by one of the members as well as an education piece. 

Please reach out if you would like to come! 

Viewpoint Digital Media is a local digital marketing business along the Bellarine Peninsula. We thrive on getting your business off the ground with a clever and well-thought-out digital marketing strategy.