Here at Workbench we love to host our own networking mixers that bring our tenants together.
Our MD, Jason, is also partial to outside networking events such as Zokit or BNI which he visits regularly, not only to bring in new clients for us, but to look for business opportunities for our tenants, always going that extra mile.
So, with all of our networking expertise, we thought we would share our top 5 tips for networking.
- Have a purpose
Think about what you want to achieve from networking. Do you want to develop your career, meet new clients and collaborators, broaden your horizons, or all of the above? Networking is much more productive and enjoyable when you have a clear goal in mind. It is also great to think about specific businesses you would like to be introduced to, you never know who those in the room know/work with.
- Perfect your introduction
A first impression is a lasting one… One of the most important ways to make you feel confident when approaching others is to prepare a brief, engaging introduction.
Include your name, your occupation, your organisation, what your organisation does (be careful to keep this brief) and what brought you to the event.
- Ask engaging questions
To establish a good connection with someone new, it is important to ask some well-considered questions once you have introduced yourself – and then show you have actually listened to their response!
The purpose of this isn’t to interrogate the other person, but to find out more about them and spark a more in-depth conversation. Depending on your reasons for networking, and the purpose of the event you’re attending, you may wish to ask the other person about their role and responsibilities, their professional background, and why they were first drawn to the event.
- Follow up with people you meet
When you meet someone new at a networking or industry event, it is important to exchange contact details so you can stay in touch.
It is good practice to send the other person a brief email the next day or invite them to connect with you on a site such as LinkedIn. If there is something specific you wish to discuss with a new contact after meeting them at an event (e.g. a potential collaboration or new venture), you may also wish to schedule a phone call or arrange a coffee or lunch appointment with them.
- Help others
It is important to give as much as you take when networking.
If someone asks you for help, advice or guidance, try to assist them if you can, or put them in touch with someone else who can help. You might also be able to offer your knowledge and expertise or maybe you know someone that can help.
Keep an eye out for updates on our socials for news on our next in-house networking events.
Or if you would like to give business networking a try, get in touch with Jason at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will be more than happy to bring you along to one of his groups.