As a business owner, you know you should be networking. We are not going to list all of the benefits of doing it because we know that you know the importance. The problem is actually doing it. Networking takes a degree of confidence that not everyone has. Perhaps you are a bit of an introvert and the thought of striking up a conversation with someone that you do not know brings a sense of terror. It can also feel more than a little spammy if not done quite right. Here, we look at some tips to make networking a little bit easier and more comfortable, and dare we say it - fun?
Business owners on the whole are savvy. That’s why they own their own business! They can spot an insincere and fake personality front he get-go, so it is important to go into networking being your real self. You are good enough - that is why you are here in the first palace. Plus, networking is about making connections with like-minded people who you can help and who can help you, and if you are not being you, how do you know whether you will click?
Be ready to network at any given opportunity - you never quite know when you will meet someone who could be valuable to you. It might be at the school gate, the bar, or the doctor’s office. Being ready is important, but be careful not to turn every single person you meet into a potential customer. That can be offputting. Instead, have business card on your person at all times, or if you want to be really snazzy, digital business cards! Remember to be professional at all times - watch your language while you are out and about and be mindful of your behavior. There could be a potential client watching you!
Know when to jump in
Nothing quite kills a conversation or an opportunity than barging into a conversation and taking over. It can leave a bad taste and completely destroy the flow. Smile, listen in, and get an idea of what is being talked about before offering your thoughts and opinions. No one likes a bulldozer!
Stop saying sorry
A key mistake that those lacking in networking experience or confidence tend to make is to apologize. Stop! You are not imposing on anyone; you are building a relationship with someone that can be mutually beneficial. By apologizing, you look inexperienced, unprofessional, and lacking in confidence which are all offputting traits in a business person. You are not asking them to do you a favor, you are asking for help or support which in turn will give them an advantage in one way or another.
Most importantly, smile and look friendly. Even if you are uncomfortable and hate networking, plaster a smile on your face and try to make it look genuine. No one is going to come and chat with you if you are frowning or grimacing or looking like you would rather be anywhere else. Be approachable.
Author - Chris
Author, Editor, Creator of this website.