Business, it’s all about making the right connections, but how do you do this best?
If approached correctly, networking is one of the most cost-effective ways of marketing your organisation. However, networking is not always as simple as it seems. There is more to networking than greeting people and passing on your business card.
Read on for our top 10 tips and tricks to improve your networking at our events. This article is particularly relevant for our Changing Places and Cereal Networking receptions.
BEFORE THE EVENT
1. Identify your objectives
What do you want to gain from attending an event? Do you want to raise general awareness about your organisation more generally, or a specific product or service?
2. Do your research
– For Changing Places and Cereal Networking receptions, you will have access to an electronic guest list ahead of the event. Have a look at who will be attending, research their company and put together a potential shortlist of people you should meet.
3. Be prepared
– Have a healthy supply of business cards. Bring a pen with you to make notes on business cards you receive to remember specifics about each contact made.
DURING THE EVENT
4. Engage with attendees effectively
– Consider the entire networking process – from making a strong introduction, to your posture, how you listen to and talk with contacts, all the way to how you politely close and exit a conversation when the time is right.
– Ask open questions to allow conversations to be started. Listen as well as talk to attendees. Be a connector and help others. Focus on being a curator, not collector, when it comes to meeting people and forging new relationships.
5. Buy not sell, share not gather
– At a networking event everyone wants to sell. However, successful networking requires you to be prepared to buy, as well as sell and to share information, as well as gather it.
– Powerful networking focuses on establishing mutual interest and building connections, not only closing sales
6. Ask for help and utilise networking aids
– LCCI staff and Ambassadors will be on hand at events to help facilitate networking and to answer questions relating to LCCI. Ambassadors are experienced LCCI networkers and are happy to provide first-hand and unbiased accounts of their membership experiences.
AFTER THE EVENT
7. Follow up any leads after the event
– Consider how and when you contact attendees. Your contacts could potentially be receiving numerous messages from other attendees. How can you distinguish yourselves? Could you offer them something tangible or targeted to themselves?
For example, do you have a relevant special offer, or can you make a referral which would benefit them?
8. Make an honest appraisal of how successful the function was for you
– Did you meet your objectives?
– Did the people you met have future potential for your business if the relationship is cultivated and maintained correctly?
– Is there something you should be doing differently next time? Do you think another LCCI event would be more relevant to you? Do you need to amend or improve your networking skills?
9. Maximise other networking avenues offered by LCCI
– If you were unable to meet with an attendee, contact your Account Manager to see if they can facilitate an introduction and for more information on other LCCI member benefits and promotional opportunities.
10. And repeat
– The more networking events you attend, the more likely you are to improve networking skills, build relationships, gain visibility and make the right connections.
Essentially, making effective use of networking functions depends on preparation, practice and follow up. We hope you have found this article useful and look forward to welcoming you at an LCCI event soon.
To book onto LCCI events, please visit londonchamber.co.uk/events/see-all-events/.
Do you want to learn how to network more effectively? Attend our bi-annual How To Work A Room Networking Training Workshops. These workshops are suitable for new networkers, or anyone who is looking to become more effective.
For more information please visit the events calendar, or contact LCCI Events Team, E: email@example.com; T: +44 (0)20 7203 1700.