Tweak Your Biz » Marketing » 10 Tips for Surviving the Networking Jungle

10 Tips for Surviving the Networking Jungle



Networking is all about communication. This communication is a two-way process. You are networking to communicate your message, but more importantly, you are networking to communicate with others, to listen to them and figure out how you can help them achieve their goals. In my journey through the networking jungle, I have gained a few insights which I hope will be useful to you and make your networking more effective.

#1. Decide what you want to achieve from the meeting. For example, you might decide that you want to make three new contacts, or that you want to make people aware of a particular aspect of your business.

#2. Know your message. Figure out what you want people to know about you. If you are sure of your offering, it will be easier for you to communicate it and you’ll be less anxious.

#3. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Have a quick look over your elevator pitch or marketing materials to ensure that the points you want to make are fresh in your mind. Take the time to make sure you have all the materials you need.

#3. Grooming. You may already look professional in your office clothes, but a quick spritz will immediately lift your spirits.

#4. Take several deep breaths. It’ll keep you calm as you enter a room full of people.

#5. Find a common ground. Commenting on the venue, the quality of the coffee and the size of the crowd is often a good ice breaker.

#6. Ask about their business first. Listening is the most important skill you can demonstrate at a networking event. It will help you figure out how you can be of use to them and it will build trust in the other person.

#7. Offer your expertise. When you’re describing your business to someone, tell them about the services that are of most relevance to them. Or give them a useful tip or resource that they can tap into.

#8. If you’re new in business and don’t have a business card, take along a one-page precis of your business, including your contact details and a brief description of what your business does.

#9. Remember, you have a skill that no one else in the room has. Even if there are a few people who run similar businesses at the event, none of them offer it in the same way that you do.

#10. Follow-up. If you got on particularly well with someone at an event, arrange to meet up with them for a coffee so you can discuss ways of working together for the benefit of your businesses.

Above all, don’t be too anxious if you’re not getting business straight away. By attending a networking event, you’re planting seeds which, if cultivated well, will bring you a bumper harvest.

Now over to you, what networking insights of your own would you add?



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Add Your Comment

  • http://www.businessopportunitiesandideas.com John Crickett

    One key aspect it not to sell. You need to create a relationship first, not enter into a sales pitch with someone you barely know.

  • http://www.btbtraining.com/blog Niall Devitt

    Hi Derbhile, John’s point about not entering to a sales pitch is well made. Another that I find useful is to concentrate on having 2-3 good conversations rather than the usual 20-30 hellos. Doing a little research beforehand on who is attending is also well worthwhile.

  • http://blog.myprojecttracker.com Barney Austen

    Hi Derbhile. A good set of pointers. I would re-enforce the comment from John about not making it a sales pitch. It’s a conversation and relationship building exercise that in turn may/should lead to business either directly or indirectly – and that this can take some time. Also I would say that most, if not all, of these helpful hints apply to online networking as well. Thanks for sharing your learnings.

  • http://www.seefincoaching.com/blog Elaine Rogers

    Excellent tips – I am a little confused as to what exactly a “spritz” is ;-)

    Definitely, being a connector is a great way to help people remember you, and stay away from the hard sell.
    Connecting is more about relationships these days, networking has fundamentally changed in past 2 years – thankfully for the better.
    Only by attending will anyone get over their network nerves – I was terrible when I began, but have seen a vast improvement over the 12 months or so. As you point out, spend the first few visits of any one network group to just become more comfortable with yourself, and hear yourself speaking – what you are confident about and what needs a confidence boost :)

  • Anonymous

    Great post Derbhile. Preparation is key. If you get a chance you should practiceyour elevator pitch with a friend and/or relative. If that’s not possible record yourself. Use video if possible, or audio if not.

  • Anonymous

    Great post Derbhile. Preparation is key. If you get a chance you should practiceyour elevator pitch with a friend and/or relative. If that’s not possible record yourself. Use video if possible, or audio if not.

  • http://www.stress-solutions4life.com/ Catherine Connors

    I like what you wrote Derbhile and I do agree with those that have already left comments, especially the point of ‘not making a sales pitch’.

    I would say that who you are talking to is the person you are focused on, I see in networking events (too often) those that are dashing around the room to meet as many people as possible and while talking to one person have already focused on the next person they wish to meet. Like Niall said having 2-3 good conversations are often more useful than 20-30 hellos.

  • Anonymous

    Great post Derbhile, you have hit the nail on the head here.
    I think having the right attitude is the most important thing in networking- I often think many people attend networking events thinking it is all about them- when in fact it’s not- its about the other people at the event – the people you want to connect with.
    I believe you have to view networking as a long term investment and not something you do once in a while. As someone once said- networking is a reccurring committment.