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Top Tips for Networking

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12:02am 8th June 2015

Just over a year ago I met Business Hub regular...

Eva Seymour

...and networking aficionado, John Harvey. Up till then I’d thought networking was all sharp suits, even sharper elbows and business card Top Trumps.

John’s take on networking told of businesses that had gone from glint-in-the-eye start-ups to thriving contenders by adopting a relationship-building mindset.

Inspired, I set out on a networking journey that has proved a great investment for WellPutWords’ bottom line and excellent for my soul.

Here are 7 things I’ve learnt in my networking year:

1) You’re better at networking than you think…

Because you’ve been honing essential networking skills for years…at everything from ante-natal groups to gyms, sports teams to book groups.

2) Preparation is key

If you’re new to an area or industry sector, do your research – social media is a great way to observe, learn and start making connections. Ask for advice and get yourself event-ready - work out the why, who and what of your business – your elevator pitch.

3) It’s not all about you

JFK’s famous quote – “…ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country” - is spot on. Think about what you can contribute and how you can help and so become a part of your business community.

4) Overnight success takes time

Don’t be in too much of a hurry. Sales won from networking take time, so develop your business connections into relationships without pressure or an overt agenda.

5) Have a strategy

When you’re networking you’re marketing yourself. Whether you’re self-employed or representing an organisation, you need to make sure it’s good use of your time. Define your goals, and put together a strategy and budget to get you there.  And remember even ‘free’ events are never free – they’re time away from other things.

6) Evolve, develop, diversify

Recognise that your networking activity should reflect your changing circumstances. The early days of getting yourself on the map are very different from having to be more selective as your business expands.

Look to raise your profile by speaking at events, sharing your knowledge and experience freely. And remember, opportunities are everywhere. Attending business training courses not only boosts your skills but is also a great way of bonding over a shared interest.

7) Myth busting

You don’t have to be a particular type of person - gregarious, loud or outgoing - to succeed at networking.

Be yourself, find your pace and place, and always keep an open mind. Happy networking!

by Eva Seymour of WellPutWords

http://www.wellputwords.co.uk/ or follow me on Twitter @wellputwords


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