SEVEN’s Executive Coach Jasper Walshe share’s his pearls of wisdom and top networking tips!
Building a professional network is essential in almost every role. Nothing happens in the world of business without the support of people. If you want to advance your career, having people who can support you along the way, from clients to advisors and superiors to direct reports – we need to make the most of building effective relationships. First impressions last, so be aware of the following tips when you go to a networking event.
Relax and Be Yourself
People all too often think they need to behave like some sort of an expert. Wrong – this isn’t an industry knowledge assessment centre, it’s a networking event. Just be yourself going in the door, and stay yourself throughout.
A firm handshake, with eye contact and a genuine smile, goes a long way to putting any nervous person at ease. And it has the same effect on you.
Business cards are essential for most people, so be prepared to hand them over. Also, have an elevator pitch ready – something which invites another question but doesn’t sound completely cheesy. Ask yourself if it needs to be tweaked for the event you’re going to.
Write it Down
What would you realistically like to achieve from the event? Write it down, or at the very least, make a mental note. You’ll be amazed how your subconscious mind can influence your results.
Keep it Light and Positive
Have you ever been approached by someone at a networking event and immediately been put off because they’re uber-serious in their conversation? Or by a complete cynic? It’s meant to be light-hearted, don’t take yourself too seriously or equally, not seriously enough. Let people feel at ease, be themselves (see above) and you’ll have a far more effective conversation.
Question and Listen
People love to talk about themselves – let them. Then, when appropriate, follow up with “that’s interesting, tell me more about……” – you’ll get to the right information, faster.
How Can You Help?
By thinking of ways you can help, or people you can introduce this person to, you’re naturally inclined to empathise. Always have something general to mind in advance of the event. And if nothing springs to mind, ask the question – “Interesting, is there any way I can help you?”
Ask and You Might Receive
If your objective for the evening is very specific, then don’t be afraid to ask people to help you achieve it. But they’ll be much more willing if you build some rapport first, so don’t ignore the points above.
Offer Follow Ups
It’s about building relationship, not selling. So offer a follow up and state why you think it is worthwhile for you and the other person. If there is a problem it will solve, state that. See if you can arrange a suitable time there and then.
Be a Hub
Invite others into your conversation, making the introduction as you do. People will warm to your generosity and they’ll also see you as being a “linker”. Added bonus will be that you’ll be remembered and you will remember those who you introduce too.
If you’d like to speak to Jasper or one of our Coaches to discuss how SEVEN Executive Coaching could help you, book your phone consultation