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Business Networking Tips

Allocate time in your diary to network and maximise the time while you are doing so. Be open to any opportunities that may arise.

Attend a variety of different networking events – structured and open. Find the style of event that suits you and your business.

Always arrive early and allow time for parking and preparation. You don’t want to walk in feeling flustered.

Have some questions ready to ask people so you can confidently approach people and start a conversation.

Rehearse, fine-tune and polish your pitch so you can deliver it perfectly, every time – you often only have one opportunity to do so.

Prepare before you attend networking events. Have you enough business cards? Have you got a pen and paper? Is your pitch polished?

Be presentable – first impressions count. Make sure you are dressed ‘on brand’ for your business. Smile and be friendly. Be approachable.

Tell the story of your business or product. How you got started, or lessons you have learnt. People are more interested in a story than a sales pitch.

Be authentic. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Be true to yourself and your business.

Make a note on business cards you receive of where and when you met the person for future reference.

Aim to help others – ‘Givers gain!’ Share advice and connections.

Remember: the person you are talking to is connected to many hundreds of people both off and online, so every conversation is valuable.

Think about building a relationship with people, not just selling your services to them. If we are all selling, then there are no buyers in the room!

Build relationships and provide value. The more you give, the more that will come back to you. Focus on helping the people you meet.

Introduce people in the room if you feel they could benefit each other. People remember the person who did this for them and are more likely to want to send work or connections their way in return.


Don’t take over a conversation: allow others to speak. Aim to put others at ease and try to include people in the conversation if they seem quiet.

Think of possible joint-venture opportunities.

Look for mutually beneficial opportunities. Let people know the benefits to them for working with you or purchasing your product or service.

Listen to others. Take an interest in them. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.

Be clear as to the sort of introductions and referrals you would appreciate. Try to be as specific as possible. It’s amazing how close we can be to our dream connection. ‘Six degrees of separation’!

Look for suppliers as well as customers. We are all buyers and sellers.

Promote other people. Be ready to introduce contacts from a previous event to a new contact at the current event.

Networking events are just the beginning, following up is crucial. Email, phone, use social media and possibly meet for coffee if appropriate.

Schedule time in your diary post-event to follow-up. Ideally the same day or the following morning at the latest.

Always follow-up after an event – and fulfil any promises you made during the event.

Follow-up emails are easily ignored. Phone your new contacts and arrange to meet for a coffee to cement the relationship further, or have a Skype / video call.

Keep a database of all your contacts. Send them offers and advice.

Keep in contact with people. Nurture your current network of contacts as well as seeking new ones.

Connect with all new contacts on LinkedIn and follow them on Twitter. ‘Like’ their Facebook business page if they have one.

Target yourself to connect with at least five new business contacts a week. That equals 250 new business contacts a year, minimum.

Every new contact is potentially valuable – if not immediately, maybe in the near future.

Be patient. It often takes seeing someone a few times at networking events before any business transactions take place.

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