Did you know we’ve just come to the end of International Networking Week? For women in business networking is a great way to bring in warm leads to your business.
Running for fifteen years now, International Networking Week is an opportunity to highlight the power of networking and to discuss the benefits of being part of a business community, like Gossip Gals.
As you can imagine, this is right up my street! I love any opportunity to talk about my passion for bringing like-minded women together to teach each other, find solutions for their frustrations, grow their client base, support each other, and meet new allies. I have made so many good friends through my years of networking! Plus the amount of help and expertise I've been about to access through women in business networking events has absolutely boosted my business.
I know that the term ‘business networking’ can bring many people out in a cold sweat though! They picture walking into a business networking event and having to make small talk with a bunch of strangers, or they picture standing up and having to ‘sell’ themselves or their business. Eeeekkk! I have to say, I've been to some meetings like this and I had terribly sweaty palms and stomach knots doing it!
But that’s not what all women in business networking meetings are like!
That’s why I thought it would be useful to go back to basics and share my top three tips for getting you started with confidence at your business networking events. Hope you find them helpful!
1. Understand what networking is about!
Networking (noun): the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.
Sounds pretty serious, huh?! When you think about it though, we’re all CONSTANTLY networking.
Dropping the kids off at school and chatting to the other mums and dads about homework, school events, or arranging playdates… networking. Speaking to suppliers to sort out supply chain delays… networking.
We’re social beings by nature and networking is at the heart of our daily lives. But when we give it this grand label, it can start to feel a bit daunting. Don’t you think?
A common mistake people can make is thinking that networking = selling. Wrong! People can smell this a mile off and it can really turn people off interacting with you and building meaningful connections.
If you are worried about going to a women in business networking meeting and you're just starting out, you're more than welcome to book a 15-minute chat with me and pick my brains about the best networking approach you could take. I will give you some tips on different meetings you could attend and how to asses which is right for you and your business.
Another mistake is when people are only in contact when they want or need something. Instead, think of networking as an opportunity to solve problems. It could be problems you have, for example, you’d like to attract more clients, or it could be someone with an issue that your service or products can fix! A surefire way to get yourself noticed is to help someone out with a problem they have… it can be the start of a long and beautiful working relationship! It certainly makes you more memorable in the right way when you help others than being remembered as the person that talked too long about themselves and everything was about getting them a sale.
2. Start with who you know
You don’t have to meet a bunch of strangers to start networking effectively.
Chances are, you probably already know lots of people who you can start networking with… friends, family, or old colleagues.
Even if they’re not the right people to help you out with a particular problem, or they don’t work in your particular niche, they might have friends or other contacts who are! Having someone who can introduce you or just having someone in common can be a fantastic icebreaker and take some of the pressure off.
Before long, you’ll be feeling much more confident to reach out to complete strangers, like making connections via LinkedIn, at trade shows or at in-person or online networking events like Gossip Gals Networking.
3. Keep in touch
Don’t forget to check in with your women in business networking connections from time to time! The last thing you want to do is to put all this work into building relationships and then let them gather dust on the shelf.
If you connect with someone at a networking event, and it seems like you can help each other out, call or email them afterwards saying how nice it was to meet them. You could also list a few ways you think you may be able to collaborate in the future.
If you think you have a solution to someone’s problems, drop them a line detailing ways you could support them.
When someone reaches out to you, thank them for their time and assistance and tell them that you’re looking forward to working with them in the future.
Would you love to join a supportive and friendly women in business network?
If you’re ready to try networking the Gossip Gals way, then come and join us at one of our upcoming meetings. We’re known for our relaxed and friendly approach to women in business networking!