We consider ourselves to pros at networking. No surprise there! But if you're new to networking, or you find yourself more introverted and the sound of a room full of strangers too overwhelming; we've put together 6 ways you can get the most from networking. Even when you find it a terrifying thought!
1. Find the best group for you
There are so many networking groups out there. Online/offline. Formal/in-formal. Industry specific. Female-only. Breakfast/lunch or evening. The menu is long and it's all about finding the group that best suits you. Start with where you're most comfortable and align to your goals. If the sound of standing up and doing a 2 minute pitch doesn't feel like your cup of tea, avoid formal networking. But if you think you'd be better with structure and generating leads then informal might not be for you.
2. Know why you want to start networking
Networking isn't always about getting new work immediately or generating leads for others. Some, like Women Who Do, are about building your community and support system first. Then business comes later. If you know you want to meet new people beyond just getting new leads, then that helps you enter these spaces with a clear goal in mind.
3. Go prepared
Bring your business cards! Even to the informal meetings. Just pop a few in your pocket, you're bound to be asked for one and it's easier than fumbling to take details or trying to find profiles on social media when you're holding a croissant in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.
4. Take every opportunity
If the group you're attending is offering a free facebook group (like we do) or a chance to pitch your idea to a group or opportunities to showcase your business in other ways; take those opportunities. They're free! Every little helps to grow your brand recognition.
5. Email the host
If you're going to a new group and you're nervous, drop the host a quick email and let them know. They'd be more than willing to go out of their way to welcome them into the group and make you feel less nervous. Emailing the host is also a great way to build your relationship with the group.
6. Share on social media
As well as supporting the community to grow, this is a great way to connect with other attendees before you arrive at the event. Sharing that you will be attending the event and tagging the hosts in your posts (hey, that rhymes!) means other attendees can find you. This is also great if you're worried about showing up and not knowing anyone, you can start to build those connections beforehand.
We hope you found these useful, if you ever need more advice about networking you can message us on Facebook or find our group where there are plenty of people can offer you their suggestions.