The Importance of Networking

We attended a Networking Workshop this week, and found it a great refresher course in what to do and what not to do when promoting yourself and your company via networking. Business Networking can be defined as:

"a process" of

  • it takes specific steps, a set order of events

"establishing" a

  • means setting up

"mutually beneficial"

  • means both parties gain

"relationship" with

  • personal, first-hand knowledge

"other people" to

  • those other than yourself and those you work with

"increase business"

  • means more money

Basically, networking is connecting with others you know personally who will recommend your business and expect you to recommend theirs so in the end, you both make a sale. Your network is an extension of your advertising team. Some Business Networking Do's

  • Set reasonable, attainable goals for networking
  • Look at every opportunity to network
  • Be prepared with a short 30 second introduction to yourself, your company and your unique selling position
  • Be prepared with your business cards and ask others for theirs
  • Ask open ended questions using "what" and "why"
  • Find out what the other person is looking for in a qualified lead
  • Ask how you can help
  • Introduce others
  • Make notes about your conversation
  • Smile and shake hands

Some Networking Don'ts

  • Don't try to meet everyone
  • Don't sit with or talk with people you know
  • Don't talk about yourself and your business only
  • Don't forget: everyone is there for the same reason you are
  • Don't arrive late, don't leave early
  • Don't drink too much or eat too much
  • Don't forget to follow up

Business etiquette is so very important at networking events, as you are repeatedly making a first impression. Keep conversations light and positive. Make yourself memorable somehow to those people you meet, solve a problem-meet a need. Practice your introduction so you can deliver it with confidence, poise and so that you don't forget anything. And most importantly, have fun. Practice with your co-workers, start a workshop with others in your building. Enjoy the opportunity to meet new people, start new relationships and enjoy getting out of the office for a while. Inspired 2 Design, LLC