There is the age old line in business that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Now whilst I still think it is important to be continuously learning, I could not agree more with the previous statement. One thing that has helped me a tremendous amount is my network and the amazing people they have been able to connect me with. Here are some of our top tips for building your network:
Start Attending Events
Get out to as many events as possible and start meeting as many people as possible. There are hundreds of business events happening across the country every day and it’s not too hard to find them or to get an invitation. Jump on your socials and connect with people in your area and start asking them what’s on! My favourite platforms for this are LinkedIn and Twitter and you can usually find events on Facebook and Eventbrite.
Quality Over Quantity
They say you become the summation of the 5 people you spend the most time with. This is true with networking - you very much assimilate to the communities you spend the most time in. So in saying that, it’s important that you find the community that’s right for you. I still occasionally attend events that I instantly want to leave due to people that don’t fit with my objectives and values. This goes with the connections you make too, don’t just start throwing your business cards out to anyone with a free hand, think about if they can realistically help you on your journey. Remember, one good quality connection is better then 100 bad ones.
Be A Nice Person
Now, when you get to an event it can be a bit daunting to not know anyone else in the room. But never fear! Chances are there are always at least a handful of people that feel the same way, and everyone in the room has been in the same position before. So, my best piece of advice is to go up to someone with a big smile and introduce yourself. It sounds basic but if you’re a nice person, and humble too, people are more likely to want to help you.
Negotiating The Room
As important as it is to put a smile on your face and say hi, there is also an important strategy to working a room when you’re looking to meet as many people as possible. For me, I start by looking for groups with either an opening in their circle or groups with a gap in the conversation. When there is a beat in the conversation as they change gears, it’s a perfect time to slot in and introduce yourself. Alternatively, you can start with the people on the outside of the room or standing solo because chances are that they are in a similar situation.
Now these are just a couple of points to help you at your next networking event but there are plenty more that you’ll learn as you go. Also, don’t worry if you completely bomb out either. We all have those awkward conversations and interactions and it’s just part of the learning experience. Just go in with an open mind and a positive attitude and you’ll be fine.