It’s fair to say that for most people, networking is a little bit like marmite. You either love it, or you hate it!
Whichever side of the fence you’re on though, there’s no getting away from it; networking is the perfect opportunity to meet new people, make genuine connections, and show off your amazing business.
If the thought of ‘working a room’ fills you with dread, here are a few top tips and strategies to help you to go from cringe to confident.
It’s all in the planning
“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
If you find meeting new people difficult and are terrified of those toe-curling awkward silences, then the key is to plan ahead. Prepare a few questions beforehand so that you feel more organised. By having these pre-rehearsed questions under your belt, you’re going to feel much more in control of the situation and far less overwhelmed.
Also, people like to feel that other people are interested in what they have to say, so it’s a great way to break the ice and get conversations flowing!
Prepare your elevator pitch
“Anxiety is caused by a lack of control, organisation, preparation, and action.” - David Kekich
Like anything in life, it’s all in the preparation. Be sure to take some time before your networking meeting to plan your elevator pitch and practice it until you feel comfortable. An elevator pitch may sound scary, but it really doesn’t have to be overly complicated. It just needs to cover a few sentences about who you are, what you do, and why you do it.
It’s also important to remember that networking is not just about trying to market your business. It’s about making genuine human connections. So, be relatable and be authentic. People want to get to know you as a person and not just as a business owner.
See the potential and be polite
“Good manners are just a way of showing other people that we have respect for them.” Bill Kelly
Even if it becomes clear that there isn’t a direct business opportunity with the person you’re speaking with, you never know who they know and what circles they move in. They may well be familiar with someone who’s looking for a business just like yours!
Above all, be polite. Manners cost nothing and go a long way to showing others who you are as a person and how you operate in your business.
Make time to follow up
“Not following up with your prospects is the same as filling up your bathtub without first putting the stopper in the drain.” ― Michelle Moore
Networking doesn’t finish once the meeting is over. It’s a long game. It’s about making genuine connections and building relationships, so take the time to follow up with people after a meeting. Connect with them on social media and pop them a message to say how nice it was to meet them. Be genuine though, and not spammy!
Don’t worry if you find networking cringy. It’s completely normal and a sign that you value authenticity over pretence, which is undoubtedly a good thing!
If you’re looking for a warm and welcoming networking community filled with amazing women who are all rooting for each other, then come and join us at one of our next events. We would love to meet you!
If you’re still on the fence, take a look at some of the fantastic feedback that we’ve received recently!
“Some networking meetings are like trying to break into conversation with a group of school mums you don’t really know, but yours isn’t like that at all. It’s so friendly and welcoming from the start!”
“I will learn to put my assumptions aside. I thought when I came to the second meeting that it would be repetitive. But it’s not at all! So inspirational and such a lovely bunch.”
“I didn’t know if your networking was for me when I read that it was informal because I’m a professional person. But when I’ve come to them, I’ve realised informal isn’t actually the right word. It’s more personable than informal. And I’m now on my second meeting since this week’s meeting, working with someone that I met at it.”