You are probably familiar with networking and sometime have just had a little too much of it. Turning up at a networking event can be hard and then what do you do with the information after. Here are some handy hints that will help you through.

1 Everyone is in the same boat

Arriving at a networking event can be really daunting and speaking to someone could look like one of the biggest tasks you will ever have to do. That said some people just do it naturally and breeze through the room. Remember that everyone is there for the same reason, they are interested in who you are and what you do just as much as you are them. You are proud of what you do so go and shout about it. The key is to smile and take a genuine interest in other peoples lives.

2 There’s never a bad contact

Every contact is a good contact, you never know who is in their network that they will refer to you. If you make an impression on someone they are likely to remember you next time they are talking to someone else about what you do. So the person who runs a printing business might not get work from a window cleaner at a networking event but what happens when that window cleaner is taking to one of there customers who needs some printing done urgently

3 Build your social network

Social Networking has evolved over the years to become a business networking tool as well. The internet and online networking have essentially reduced distances between people to zero so that we can not only network outside of our hometown, but also from coast to coast and globally. Develop some online contacts whom you might be interested in networking with. Make sure you are linking in and tweeting as much as you can, you digital footprint needs it

4 Be generous

Since you’re looking to create mutually beneficial relationships, a good way to kick start this is by thinking of ways in which you can help others. It’s not all about contacts, job offers, and loans; you can offer compliments, listen and other less tangible but hugely valuable gestures of kindness. As long as your sincere you are establishing great connections. The person that you gave an idea to last month might get you the customer of your dreams this month.

5 Follow up

Don’t get someone’s business card or company details and forget bout them. Find way’s to keep in touch. If your in the area drop them a note and invite them for a coffee, if you found an article that they would be interested in send it over to them and then follow up some more asking if it was worth while. Send a little note letting them know that you haven’t forgotten about them, and they won’t forget about you.

6 No saying Sorry

Never apologise for connecting with someone, asking for a favour or help. It can signal a lack of confidence. Remember there is nothing to be sorry for, you just checking if someone is in a position to help. The same at a networking event, everyone wants to talk to you so just go for it.

See you at the next networking event. I will be the guy with the big smile waiting to hear all about what you do. Take care, Ric Hayden