Do’s & Don’ts of Networking

I wish there was another word for networking. This would really change how people see it. If you’re someone who has had a negative networking experience or you basically just dread the whole idea of it then please let me have one minute of your time to hopefully illustrate how I believe networking should be (sorry I’m a no ‘shoulds’ kind of a person, although honestly on this occasion I think we need a should!)

Let’s play with some alternative words and see what we come up with.

How about… connecting, having a conversation, getting to know people, making new friends? Does that feel any better?

A thesaurus of ‘Networking’ includes: head start, winning position, reciprocation, give & take, flying start, right people.

All these words and phrases are positive experiences that we want in our business, am I right? Yes yes I am!

Okay so now I’d like to share some do’s and don’ts with you so you can approach your networking with confidence and get the most from it. After all our time is precious and running a small business involves lots of different responsibilities and roles to play, which all need to be carefully juggled so we make a profit! I’m sure you’ve heard this famous phrase before:

“Treat your business like a hobby and it’ll pay you like a hobby. Treat your business like a business and it’ll pay you like a business.” 

Take a peek at this article from The Entrepreneur for more on the ‘its-not-a-hobby’: You Won’t Survive as an Entrepreneur Treating Your Business Like a Hobby

Being committed to networking will pay off for your business. We grow from gaining new customers and we all know that one of the fundamental methods to achieve this is through referrals and personal recommendation. How do we get these? Yep you guessed it… Networking.

Now let’s dive in and look at the do’s (I’m talking specifically online networking here)

  1. Relax and smile!

  2. Wear your favourite dress/jumper/dungarees/perfume/earrings…

  3. If you’re feeling a bit anxious, take a few deep breaths, listen to some soothing music, do a meditation practise or go for a stroll beforehand.

  4. Prepare a handful of conversation starters, like ‘when did you start your business?’ ‘what do you enjoy most about what you do?’ ‘what are your goals for the year?’

  5. Have everything you need close by: notebook, pen, water, snacks, bullet points for your 1 minute, reminders of your conversation starters 

  6. Have your contact details and social media links ready in your notes to copy and paste!

  7. Check your lighting, sound, camera and all your tech works properly.

  8. Log onto the session early and then go and make a cup of tea 🙂

  9. Prepare a handful of conversation closers, like ‘it’s been lovely chatting, shall we connect on LinkedIn/Instagram/Clubhouse…?’ (Tbh when you’re networking online, in my networking sessions anyway you won’t need to worry about conversation closers as the meetings are carefully structured & facilitated.

  10. Get in touch with the host before the event and find out about the format, what’s expected of you, what type of businesses will be there. And if you’re nervous, let them know, a good host will be able to suggest some simple but effective ideas to help you feel more relaxed.

Now for my don’ts!

  1. Try and be someone else. This will just end in disaster. If you feel you need to pretend to be different from who you are, then take that as a red flag that this is not the networking place for you! Oscar Wilde said “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”

  2. Talk more than you listen. Try to remember this approach 80:10:10 Listen for 80% of the time, ask questions for 10% of the time and give your opinion 10% of the time.

  3. Pretend to be interested when you’re not. Not making eye contact and making it obvious you’re eager to move on and talk to someone else. #Rude!

  4. Say you’ll follow up and then you don’t. Be true to your word.

  5. Read your ‘about me’ from a script. People will switch off and they’d rather listen to you talk with passion, even if you do make mistakes.

  6. Go in for the sale before hello! This is NOT networking. Remember your aim is to meet people you like and resonate with. No one likes the feeling of a pushy salesperson.

All in all if you forget all this, think about this one thing: ENJOY YOURSELF!

I’m passionate about empowering women to have a voice, have their story heard and follow their dreams in life & business. My mission is to offer innovative, extraordinary & inspiring networking opportunities for female lead businesses.

Why not get a bit closer?

  1. Book a free taster networking event in The Tribe our Membership Hub HERE

  2. Join my free community Come Network With Me

  3. Book a virtual coffee with me HERE!

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