With countless events taking place every night of the week in cities across the UK, the business community could easily spend their life networking.
Despite the value in making business contacts, not everyone enjoys networking and many dread going to these types of events.
However, one of the founders of the newest coworking office space in Manchester, WorkPlace, believes networking is still a key part of today’s business world and she wants to encourage people to look at events from a different perspective.
Jane Schofield, director at WorkPlace, said: “Since we launched WorkPlace, we have been to every kind of networking event imaginable.
“We want to talk to as many people as possible about our new business and invite them to come and check out WorkPlace. But, although we think we have a great concept we know that people won’t just believe us after a five minute chat – time needs to be taken to develop the relationship.
“So many people say that they hate networking, which is why we want to share our top tips for approaching this invaluable business tool.”
1. Forget business event – think relationship
Think of it more like a social event and the opportunity to make new and lasting friendships. Go and seek out these new friends, and plant the seed for what could develop into a beautiful new (business) relationship.
2. Be interested and interesting
Don’t focus on what they can do for you and what you can do for them - friendships don’t work like this. You have to invest time in getting to know people – make them want to find out more about you and stay in touch. Give before you receive.
3. Arrive early
If you don’t like networking, arriving late seems like a good idea but by then the party has already started and it can be daunting to break into groups that are already in discussion. I have a friend who always arrives early and then stands and greets as many people as he can. It’s a nice trick and people, especially those flying solo, are often so pleased to see a friendly face, that it can reap great dividends.
"Think of networking as like a social event and the opportunity to make new and lasting friendships"
4. Ditch the sales pitch
If you expect to go to a networking event and sell, then you are at the wrong event – it’s all about relationship building. I always try to find a way we can help the people we are talking to – either recommending a contact or a website that might be of interest.
5. Share your passion
In order for people to want to work with you, your passion needs to come across. If you work for Mercedes, make me want to buy a Mercedes car. There is nothing more off-putting than someone who is bored talking about what they do.
6. Don’t hijack the conversation
Nerves can make us talk too much and we forget to listen. Nobody likes someone who holds court and doesn’t let people get a word in – listen more than you talk.
7. Always follow up
Never go to an event and forget to take note of the people who have attended. If someone interested me, I will do a little more research and make an effort to stay in touch from time to time.
For more information on WorkPlace please visit www.work-place.co.uk or follow @WorkPlace2015 on Twitter
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