Have you ever thought about how to be an effective networker? Well, sure, it doesn't keep you up at night, but maybe you thought of it half way through an event, you wish you'd put a little more research into? Or when feeling a little reluctant to talk to an important potential client? No matter what, with the right tools and advice, anyone can be a great networker.
Our involvement in the recruitment world, means we do our fair share of networking, I needn't explain why - but, the ability to connect with others is essential in this technological, rapidly changing world we live in. Knowing how to connect and build long lasting relationships will help you in your professional and personal life, as networking has become a pre-requisite to professional success. It isn't just about collecting business cards, whether you are job seeking or just wanting to be more relaxed when meeting new people, this skill will help you achieve your goal.
Tip 1: Plan
An effective recruiter has already organised and planned their day at the event before-hand. Get the visitor list, connect with the relevant people via linkedin/email, introduce yourself and organise a time to meet during the networking event so you're more likely to have some of their time. You need to show interest in the people you are talking to, listen to what they have to say, and explain how you can assist them in their business goals, which leads me nicely on to Tip 2...
Tip 2: Elevator Pitch
Developing a 30 second elevator pitch could briefly demonstrate your USP(s), increasing your chance of leaving a great lasting impression on the person you are speaking with. It is essential to practice this, ensuring it comes across natural but remembering the key points.
Tip 3: Know Your Goals
To master the art of networking, you need to know your goals. Where do you see yourself in 6 months? 5 years? Being familiar with your goals allows you to identify the relationships you need to build, and the necessary people to collaborate with in order to reach them.
So, how do you approach someone you don't know? Mutual interest.
Finding a common ground/topic is a great ice-breaker - an easy one would be regarding the event you're at, talking about the topic at hand. However, conversation doesn't always have to be business related, showing some personality can go a long way. If you wish to connect with someone regarding an opportunity, you should outline your experience and how it may relate to the person/company (your elevator pitch would come in great here).
Just some final pointers...
First Impression - A great handshake and a dash of confidence is a recipe for networking greatness.
Listen - as much as you want to get your point across, take time and show a genuine interest in what others have to say, and don't be afraid to prove that interest with questions.
Business Cards - have them ready, and don't give out someone elses business card... it happens more than you think. Offer a leaflet/brochure if you have one too!
Follow Up - relationships don't develop from one meeting, give them a call after the event and connect via LinkedIn.
Practice - it will take time to perfect, so keep attending events and push yourself into new situations, as these are the best times to learn.
If you want a chat or any advice on how to network effectively, feel free to contact us.