The value of networking is more powerful than ever and with thousands of networking opportunities available on a daily basis, it can be difficult to get the most out of every opportunity. When it comes to networking, it’s about quality, not quantity. Instead of spending all your evenings out and about to no avail, here are a few dos and don’ts to help you network effectively.
Do: Plan Your Outings
A key component of networking effectively is to plan ahead. Make sure you keep a calendar in order to stay up to date with all the events you plan on going to. Make sure you find out who the most important speakers are and which people are most relevant for you. Spend some time doing some research on them- this may help you spark a conversation once the opportunity presents itself. If you get nervous when talking to new people, work on your own pitching and presentation skills. Good planning will help you build real meaningful relationships at business networking events which can help you further yourself professionally.
Don’t: Forget to Have Some Business Cards Ready
This may seem obvious, but no matter how early on you are in your entrepreneurial journey or your career you should get some business cards made with your basic information such as your name, occupation and contact details. Having a nice looking card will allow you to confidently give out your contact details and make sure people remember the next day when they go through the business cards they collected at the event.
Do: Ask For Contact Details
If you’ve just had a great conversation with someone at a networking event, always ask for their contact details. Simply ask the person that you are speaking to if they have a business card at hand as you’d love to follow up on the conversation you’re having at the event. Having their direct contact details will make it easier for you to get in touch, rather than waiting for them to email you.
Do: Chase Up
If you’re trying to get in touch with someone via email and they don’t reply within two weeks, chances are they have not seen your message. It can sometimes feel a little pushy to send a chase-up email but do not hesitate to do so. A simple “Hi there, just checking you got the message below” is sufficient to send a gentle reminder to the person you are trying to talk to. More often than not, the receiver will appreciate your determination. There is a variety of tools that can help you set reminders for follow-ups.
This list will help you get a better grasp of what it takes to network effectively. Planning your outings will help you gain confidence and set clear goals as to what you aim to achieve at the events. Having a business card and asking for contact details will make it easier for you to stay in touch with the people you meet. Lastly chasing up will ensure you stay on top of things and nurture the important relationships you started at networking events. Good luck with achieving your networking goals!