Matthew Davies is an Author, Speaker and Consultant in Learning and Development. He is a Fellow of the Learning and Performance Institute and works with major corporate clients around the world, including MOO.com. This is the first series of six blog posts in which he teaches teach us how to work the room so effectively, you’ll get holes in your shoes.
Sometimes in our lives we can have days when we’ve done lots of things and actually achieved very little. It’s the difference between meaningless motion and purposeful action. That can happen at networking events as well. You may shake many hands and swap a deck full of business cards but if you haven’t made a genuine connection, the chances are you’ll soon be forgotten. The whole point of networking is to build relationships, to gather a genuine group of professionals who you can learn from, trust and perhaps do business with.
Most of us enjoy meeting new people but fear the process, especially at something like a business networking event. You might worry about aimlessly wandering around the room, unable to break into a group and ending up feeling like the last one to be picked for the sports team. Or perhaps you’re concerned that once you’ve met someone, the conversation will quickly dry up and be replaced by an awkward, deathly silence. Well it’s time to become the warrior not the worrier.
Why should you attend?
Before you attend the next networking event, list some positive reasons why you should go. So here goes, give your head a shake, think positively and answer this simple question: What are the benefits for me attending a networking event? Let me give you a hand:
- Get referrals
- Recruit talent
- Find suppliers
- Meet the competition
- Gain strategic alliances
- Do some market research
- Develop your marketing message
- Expose yourself to new ideas and insights
- Connect with key influencers in your industry
- To increase your visibility and build your industry profile
By the way, referral marketing (that’s the posh term) is seen by many as the most cost effective way to get more business. These are some of the reasons why you’ll collect your badge in the foyer and head into the next networking event. So if you focus on the positive reasons, you’ll walk through the door, pumped with the answers you gave to the question I just posed, rather than a head full of excuses as to how you should leave as soon as possible. And guess what? Your experience is going to be very different next time because your mindset is going to be very different.
Written by Matthew Davies