With the ‘Enterprise Week 2017’ starting today, we are very lucky in Jersey to have Jersey Business providing four days of diverse events which will look at the influence simple technology can have on business results, how innovation can drive business growth and the importance of putting customers at the centre of a growth strategy.
With this in mind, I thought it may be a good idea to remind you of a few practical tips to help you feel more confident when attending a networking event:
1. “Bee” prepared. Find the venue and arrive in plenty of time. If the attendees’ list is available, check out who is coming. Only 23% of those surveyed by ComRes said they had researched who would be attending an event they had signed up for. Know what it is that you want to achieve from the event by setting goals. Concentrate on using your precious time to make useful connections and build new relationships.
2. “Bee” a connector. By asking the organiser for introductions to new people who you ought to meet there you will make valuable use of your time. Then you can become the connector and an introducer and help others develop their network too – as a result opportunities will often follow.
3. “Bee” remembered. Use a core unique statement to introduce yourself. You have seven seconds for someone to make an impression of you; this is your time to shine. Make sure what you say and how you say it is going to grab this person’s attention. Start with a strong handshake, maintain eye contact and smile as you greet your new contact.
4. “Bee” aware of body language. It’s important to, not only be aware of your own body language, but also that of others around you. Observe the room for a few seconds and look for people who are most likely to respond positively. These are individuals standing alone who are waiting for someone to talk to or small groups of between two and three people that are clearly open to new participants. You can see this in their body language: if they are facing outward, the chances are that they are having a casual conversation and would be happy for others to join in. However, if their arms are folded in front of their bodies and they are looking at the floor, then they are less likely to want others to join in on their conversation. Similarly, If you are stood on your own and doing the same – or staring down at your mobile phone and not engaging people through eye contact – this will have the same effect. In contrast, leaving your arms unfolded and maintaining good eye contact will welcome people to your space, or conversation if you are already part of a small crowd.
5. “Bee” interesting. Don’t feel like you have to say something profound to start with. First, you need to break the ice and it can be as simple as commenting on the venue, the programme, food, speaker or the event organiser. Make sure you use plenty of open questions – these are questions that ask who, what, where, when and how – questions that cannot generally be answered with a simple yes or no (closed questions). Your goal is to explore ideas and opinions and also to demonstrate your listening skills.
6. “Bee” there for your new contacts. Follow up and do so promptly, or risk losing all of your hard work. It is a key way to make sure your networking makes a difference in the long run and that you are building a trustworthy relationship.
Networking is all about how seemingly minor connections or conversations with one person may be discussed across the network and end in a connection later in the process. You never know to whom you are talking. You never know whom it is that your new connection knows; he or she could provide you with future referrals. Most importantly, you may be connecting with someone who becomes a member of your tribe and helps your business to grow.
Networking is lot like the process of pollination; a small action in one place has a ripple effect that creates another action somewhere else. So don’t be shy, unleash the bee in you and get buzzing.
If you want to try those tips out, come Speed Buzzing with us, on Tuesday 30th May at 8am, a lot like Speed Dating, Speed Buzzing will get you connected with 19 businesses in 60 mins… you will totally love it, so come Speed Buzzing and start growing you tribe around you…