Business networking!

Posted on January 7, 2014
Location: London
Business networking!

Business networking is a socioeconomic business activity by which groups of like-minded business people recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities. Business networking is about being genuine and authentic, building trust and relationships, and seeing how we can help each others.

We need to first of all ask ourselves; what our goals are in participating in networking meetings so that we will pick groups that will help us get what we are looking for. Some meetings are based more on learning, making contacts, and/or volunteering rather than on strictly making business connections.

It is important; to visit as many networking groups as possible that spark our interest. We need to be observant in noticing the tone and attitude of the groups. Let us find out; if the people sound supportive of one another? Does the leadership appear competent? Many groups generally allow visiting two times before joining them with a price. So we can check the quality of the groups, before committing ourselves to it.

Some of the tactics to be visible in a Business Networking Group and plough up the benefit of participating in them:

  • If possible, we need to offer, to hold volunteer positions in these groups. This is a great way to stay visible and give back to groups that have helped us.
  • We need to ask open-ended questions in networking conversations. This means questions that ask who, what, where, when, and how as opposed to those that can be answered with a simple yes or no. This form of questioning opens up the discussion and shows listeners that we are interested in them.
  • We need to become known as a powerful resource for others. When we are known as a strong resource, people remember to turn to us for suggestions, ideas, names of other people, etc. This keeps us visible to them.
  • We need to have a clear understanding of what we do and why, for whom, and what makes us special or different from others doing the same thing. In order to get referrals, we must first have a clear understanding of what we do, that we can easily articulate to others.
  • Too often people in conversations ask, "How may I help you?" and no immediate answer comes to mind. We should be able to articulate what we are looking for and how others may help us.
  • We should follow through quickly and efficiently on referrals we are given. When people give us referrals, our actions are a reflection on them. Let us respect and honour that and our referrals will grow.
  • Let us call those people we meet; who may benefit from what we do and vice versa. Expressing that we enjoyed meeting them, and asking if we could get together and share ideas, will make the relationship grow.

The most important skill for effective business networking is listening; focusing on how we can help the person we are listening to; rather than on how he or she can help us; is the first step to establishing a mutually beneficial relationship.

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