Networking and building relationships

Networking and building relationships

Networking and building relationships isn’t a sales pitch it’s about making valuable professional connections that grow over time, think of it as a chance to meet new friends. There are a number of things to consider when you’re attending a networking event, virtual or online so let’s have a look at some of the things you should know.

  • If you are going to present then it’s vital that you prepare, after all I’m sure you wouldn’t go for an appointment without first doing research on the company. 
  • You will benefit from setting a clear easy to follow objective, be clear on what you want, and structure your presentation to meet that outcome. 
  • Ask yourself beforehand what your goals are in going to networking meetings?
  • Once you find a group that you like, stick with it and be consistent. You will find that you get to know more about the other members and they in turn will remember you.
  • Have a clear understanding of what you do and why you’re different from the competition.
  • If you are presenting think about what it is that your audience are looking to get from your presentation. 
  • Don’t just deliver what you want to say and miss what your audience really want to hear.
  • You wouldn’t tell your audience about printing a brochure if they had come to hear you talk about how you design a logo.
  • Listen when others are talking, do your best to be a sponge and soak up what they say.
  • Try to relax and when you’re presenting leave a pause in between sentences – it gives the listener time to digest what you said.
  • Smile, relax and be yourself. You’ll be amazed how people will be drawn to you.
  • The more you find out about someone the more likely you are to remember them and make a real connection.
  • Try to maintain eye contact, if you’re on a Zoom meeting remember to look at the camera when you speak.
  • By maintaining eye contact you can build rapport, try to not keep looking round the room or screen.
  • Make sure you have your camera adjusted to the right view point, not everyone wants to see up your nose.
  • How you dress is personal, but the way you dress in front of an audience says a lot about you, so ensure you’re giving out the right message to suit your industry. If you’re a plumber you wouldn’t go networking wearing a suit and likewise if you’re a financial adviser you probably wouldn’t wear jeans and T-Shirt.
  • End your presentation with your name and company also try to have a memory hook or strap line.

Thank you for reading about networking and building relationships, I’m Darren, a graphic designer helping small and micro businesses to stand out from the herd – just like the purple cow I use in my branding.

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