Making the ‘right’ connections can have a significant impact on your business. Often, we can attend events where our potential partners and opportunities are, but never come to fruition because of what we do or not do.
Experienced and savvy businesspeople understand what to do to turn opportunities into realities.
Here are 5 top tips of how to make those all-important connections work:
- Network with purpose and know what outcome you want to achieve
All too often, people attend networking functions with no real goal about who or how many they wish to connect with. You should know exactly why you are attending the event and what you want to achieve. So it is important to set your overall networking goals and also for specific events.
- Do your research before you attend a networking meeting
So, now you know who you want to get connected with to potentially become a business partner or a referral partner. If it is a specific person you want to be introduced to, research what events this person (or someone who knows that person) will be at. If you must be invited to one of these events, then find out how you can get invited.
Then, research this person’s interests, where he or she hangs out etc. This way, you will be able to appeal to that person and ask specific questions to quickly build rapport.
It could be that you do not want to be introduced to someone specifically, but rather people in a general business category or level of management. If this is the case, then you need to look for events that this type of person will be at. Often, depending on the type of event, you can see online who will be attending prior to the event.
- Follow up within 48 hours
It is crucial to follow up with someone you have met at a networking meeting or through a colleague, and this should be done within a short time frame after the meeting. This might mean you putting a reminder in your calendar to follow up within at least 48 hours. It does not have to be with specific information, it may just be ‘It was great to meet you’ type contact. Making contact any later than this, could mean to the other person that you do not care about what you had discussed or about the potential new business relationship.
- Ask the right questions
The easiest and most common question asked at a networking event is ‘What do you do?’ However, this is very lame (or ‘vanilla’) as everyone else asks this type of question. Ask more interesting questions and ones that others do not usually ask. This could be about the other person’s opinion on the topic that has been or is going to be talked about in the event; how they came to be at the event etc. Once it is obvious that you have found something that can bond you with the person, it is much easier to build rapport and the relationship.
- Show you are confident
People are attracted to other people who display confidence. This does not necessarily mean that they are confident, but at least they show that they are. There are many techniques you can adopt to appear to others that you are more confident and to make yourself feel more confident. One quick way is to purposely stand straight and tall. This not only shows the other person that you are confident but psychologically, you really do feel more confident. Another way is to breathe deeply to help relax yourself and this allows you to engage with others more easily.
So, when you are at your next open networking event, try these quick tips to help you to make important connections with those that can make a difference to the growth of your own business.