Networking isn’t just for Christmas, it’s for life.
Often individuals get rather excited around January time and suddenly decide now is the time to start networking with a frenzy. So they attend lots of different groups, stretch themselves rather too thin and their grand ambitions have all fizzled out come February. So for those people who have placed Networking at the top of their New Year resolutions – we have come up with the perfect blog to help you transform that dream into a reality.
- Christmas time – mistletoe and networking
Whilst beginning your networking journey in January can seem like a good symbolic date to start, it may be worth checking out some of your local groups in December. A range of groups will have special Christmas networking meetups that are slightly more informal than their usual fare. This can be the perfect chance to meet the members in a more relaxed setting and means that come January 1st you will already have some familiar faces and be well on your way to making those all important connections. The only caveat we would add is that whilst alchohol may be plentiful, make sure not to overdo it. You really do never get a chance to make a second first impression.
Like any part of your marketing strategy, you should make sure to have a networking strategy. Whilst it can seem like a positive step to visit as many groups as possible, we would advise choosing a select few that match with your business and personality and then working to get to know their members. This can lead to far more powerful relationships than simply attending lots of different members.
- Set targets
With networking, it can be extremely easy to simply chose groups where you feel comfortable and enjoy attending. Obviously, enjoyment is a huge factor, but ultimately you are there to do business so make sure you have a strategic idea of what you hope to get out of networking. Whether this be more suppliers, more business (or maybe it really is just to make new friends in a new area,) have a figure in your head and never forget to continuously reassess and reposition yourself if something isn’t working.
- Be prepared
In some form of another you will need to have a 60 second “shpiel” ready about your business. This may be presented in a formal round robin or simply when someone asks – to prevent any embarrassment or nervousness we would advise practicing this in front of the mirror, your friends or even at the Christmas dinner table if your family are so obliging. Trust us…practice makes perfect.
Networking, for the initiated can seem, understandably, a little daunting. If you are struggling to understand the format or how to make the most of your membership, don’t be afraid to ask another member or the group organiser for help. Like anything, it may take a little bit of time to get it absolutely right – so be patient and eventually those seeds you plant will flourish into beautiful synergistic business relationships.