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Networking

Just as a dog is for life and not just for Christmas, networking should be a habit and not a one off event. It is about 'farming' not 'hunting' and about building long term relationships, not closing a piece of business there and then.

Even before we look at some techniques to employ when networking, we have to get over a cultural barrier. As a nation, we are self-deprecating and uncomfortable when needing to blow our own trumpets or, talk up successes or abilities. But if we don't, who will? With today's technology, there is no excuse not to get your message out there!

Networking essentials:

It's networking

It's not Net eating or Net sitting, it's Networking. Think like a 'host' not a 'guest'. Get involved; introduce yourself or other people to each other.

Set some objectives

Don't wander around aimlessly. If possible, obtain the guest list ahead of time and target who you would like to talk to. Decide on how many you would like to meet, based on numbers and types of people attending, and don't leave until you've done it!

Time

To achieve your objective, spend around 10 minutes with each person. If the conversation looks promising, arrange a one to one to explore the possibilities in more detail.

Trust

Never let your fellow networkers down. If you receive a referral or lead, make sure you follow-up and let your contact know you have done so. Ensure you deliver on time. You contacts are putting their reputations on the line when recommending you - don't let them down. Bad news travels fast.

2:1

This is the proportion of ears to mouth each of us has. Make sure you use then in this proportion. Pride yourself on being an active listener; be genuinely interested in what the other person is saying. Who knows where the conversation may lead? Explain what you do - be specific but be brief. Do not assume they know your business.

Follow up Networking

Always network

Always carry your business cards and be prepared to talk about your business. An opportunity may present anywhere - be prepared!

Always give two cards - one for the receiver and one for their associate who 'needs' your services.

Follow up

Failing to follow up will waste your networking efforts. Drop a note to or, call each person you've met. Ensure you deliver on any promises you have made.

Continue building

After and between events keep in contact by providing relevant or interesting information and articles. Refer when you can. This builds relationships and helps people to get to know and trust you - this makes it easier for them to buy from you or refer to you.

Enthusiasm Networking

Enthusiasm

Nobody wants to spend time with, let alone do business with, a misery. Be passionate about your business, taking pride in what you do. If you do not feel these two things, perhaps it is time to evaluate your position - maybe a change in direction is required. You have always got to be on top of you game - you are a walking advertisement for your business.

Thank you

Two words valued highly when received, but not used enough.

If people have taken the time and trouble to send you something or think of you - make sure you say Thank you! This goes a long way, showing you respect and appreciate the relationship. It will also set you above 'the rest' - saying thank you is a dying art.

Remember:

'Opportunity is missed by most people because, it is dressed in overalls and looks like work' Thomas A. Edison


About the Author

Written by Sue Wright of  WrightPlace Consulting, a consulting company specializing in helping you develop your business.. You can reach WrightPlace Consulting by emailing info@wrightplace.co.uk or online at www.wrightplace.co.uk.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2006-08-26 13:08:45 in Personal Articles

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