How to get the most out of networking at Business 1st
Whether you’re new to networking or are a regular on the networking circuit, here are some top tips to help you get the most from the time and money you invest in network meetings.
• First impressions count. Never underestimate how important it is to give the right impression when you meet people for the first time.
• Don’t forget your business cards. Whether you’re a regular member of a networking group, or a one-off visitor, always make sure you’ve got some business cards with you – either to hand over when you’re talking to people, or to pass round to everyone during the meeting if the group allows.
• Know your elevator script. When networking, you’ll often get asked “what is it you do?” or “what line of business are you in?” Make sure you’ve got an effective way of telling people about your business in just a couple of sentences. You can always elaborate with more detail later.
• Be prepared to talk about your business to the group. At Business 1st, all members and visitors get 60 seconds to talk about their business. Other networking groups may differ on the time allowed. Make sure you find out ahead of each meeting how long you’ve got to talk about your business, and prepare a speech that makes best use of the time available.
• Don’t underestimate the power of props. Using a prop as part of your 60 seconds is a great way to be more memorable. Whether your prop is a product from your business, , a physical example that accompanies your verbal message or just something wild or wacky, it will help the audience understand your business and remember what it is you offer.
• What’s your networking goal? Make sure you understand why you are networking? Is it to gain more business? Find new suppliers? Mix with like-minded business people? Build a support team? Create some specific goals before each meeting, such as how many new people you’d like to connect with, to make your networking even more effective.
• Don’t forget your diary. It’s handy if you need to arrange a meeting with someone who’d like to find out more about your business.
• Arrive early and don’t rush off. A lot of informal networking happens before and after the official meeting, so arrive in plenty of time to have a chat over your first coffee, and make sure you leave some time for further networking after the meeting officially ends.