For many of us Networking can be a daunting situation to conquer, however once in the room, surrounded by like-minded individuals, drumming up conversation won’t prove that hard.
In the digital age, networking can seem almost old-fashioned but utilised productively, face-to-face- it can play an advantageous role in your everyday business life. Sharing your passions and goals with fellow entrepreneurs can generate fresh ideas and help you to make the right connections, all of which could potentially open doors to further business development.
Building relationships with Interconnected business contacts can equal more knowledge, which is why The ScaleUp 360 programme works as a consortium with its business partners, to provide free business support to ambitious companies across the Sheffield City Region.
You can check out The ScaleUp 360 networking calendar here for details about upcoming events in the Sheffield City Region.
Alternatively, you can register and turn up to one of the many open networking events advertised on Eventbrite, why not take a look at local business pages and organisations for dates to put in the diary too.
Tips to survive networking and events:
- Do your homework – your time is valuable so you must aim to have a tangible return for it to be worth your investment. If possible, find out a list of event attendees and identify who you could have mutual business interests with – that way, you know a conversation with that person or company could be relative to your objectives.
- Plan – A good rule of thumb is to plan ahead of the event or networking session. Having a few relevant points of discussion in mind will help to break the ice. Bear in mind that the conversation points you chose, don’t have to be all about business. Talk about the event itself, or even your hobbies if you find it appropriate to do so.
- Do NOT “work the room” – It’s okay to mingle, smile and conversate but don’t make it your aim to connect with each person present at the time. If you have done your homework, you’ll be able to focus on speaking to solid connections so be yourself, be friendly and be approachable. It always helps to ask questions and show interest as listening is the key to holding a good conversation and a great tool to gently market your business and your plans.
- Remember to follow up – Swap details. Make sure to collect business cards and hand your own out too (just don’t spam everyone). In a room full of people, it can be hard to remember the name of each person and their endeavours. Grabbing a card means you can log the information into your CRM system and send out ‘great to meet you’ emails afterwards. Maintaining that connection can help to build your reputation as a reliable business contact and strengthen the relationship. You never know, you may sow the seeds for support from them in the future.