The do's and don'ts of business networking

Business networks are great tools for businesses who want to grow and develop, but simply attending such an event is just half the challenge. The way you approach business networking can easily determine how successful you are in creating new contacts and clients which is why it’s good to know what things to focus on, and what you need to avoid.



Do


Be clear, confident and concise



When describing your business, remember that your audience will quickly lose interest if you are too long-winded or are unable to outline your offering quickly. Read this page from the British Library on knowing your elevator pitch to help you condense your description into something short and snappy.


Ask questions


People love talking about what they are passionate about; one of the oldest tricks in the book to get people to really engage with you is to ask lots of questions about their business: how it started, what they are offering, and so on. Of course don’t interview them, but asking lots of questions and showing genuine interest helps move the conversation in a natural and mutually beneficial way.


Make friends and follow up


Odds are that you have met a lot of people during the event and have received a lot of business cards and contact details. Make a point of getting back in touch a month or two later to see how they are getting on; you might just catch them at the right time to talk about potential business opportunities.



Don’t


Get too personal


On one hand you want to connect to other people on a human level and be yourself, but you don’t want to go too far. Remember where you are, and that you are there for business reasons; talking about your personal life may be inappropriate and you may say something that completely turns off any business opportunity.


Give up or be impatient


Networking events are full of people and not everyone is likely to show you the interest that you would ideally want. If someone cold shoulders or ignores you, simply move on and find someone else who may be more receptive.


Forget your manners


Manners go a long way in life and also reflect you as a professional. If two people are having a conversation and you want to get involved, don’t jump straight in or interrupt. Similarly, if someone makes a comment about your business that you may not agree with, don’t jump to defense. Keep your cool and remain professional.


BIPC Northamptonshire and other local organisations frequently run free networking events that a growing number of businesses are attending. Make sure to follow our social media accounts to keep updated with business events that are happening across Northamptonshire.


BIPC Northamptonshire social media accounts:


Another great way to meet other like-minded businesses is to attend some of our free Kick Start Workshops and Webinars. Visit our events page to see the full list of events that we have on throughout July.


You can also find information on our other services like one-to-one business support, market research database resources and intellectual property advice by visiting our services page.



This article first appeared on the British Library’s Business & IP Centre website: View.

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