As holiday and new year’s celebrations come to an end, you may be wondering what you could have done to network more effectively. While making your business goals for 2018, it is important to consider the best ways to connect with new people who may be able to help your business grow.
Below, please find some tips regarding the best ways to effectively network to increase your chances for success in 2018. From everyone at Fourscore, we wish you a safe and happy start to the new year!
10 Tips for How to Network Well
- Have effective business cards: Using business cards may seem a little antiquated in today’s digital world, but they can leave a strong impression on a new contact and are a tangible reminder of you and your business. Instead of simply sending a Facebook or LinkedIn friend request, exchanging business cards with new acquaintances is a nice way to create a more lasting and personal memory.Effective business cards should include your name, your business, your website (if applicable) and your email address and phone number, at the minimum. You can also include your business mission statement on the back of your business cards so that new acquaintances will be more likely to remember you after the event.
- If you feel overwhelmed in networking situations: try moving toward the bar, food or sitting area. These areas are natural places for conversations to start and will make introducing yourself much easier than if you are just standing alone in a crowded room. If you want more help on the networking front, check out this article from HBR.
- Ask people about themselves: Instead of pushing your business, you may want to start by simply asking others what they do. Asking pertinent follow-up questions will show that you are genuinely interested in their work and will increase the likelihood that others will actively listen when you speak about your work. Carefully, listening to others will also allow you to learn about potential partnerships or client-bases that you otherwise would not have known about.
- Prepare your goals before the event: The night before the event, you may want to write down several goals you have for the event. These goals should be both business-related and fun. For example, one goal could be to introduce a new acquaintance to one of your colleagues or friends at the event, or try to schedule a follow-up lunch or coffee meeting with someone new you meet.If writing down a list of goals seems too formal, you may want to write down a list of things you feel that you can offer to others. Providing other people with connections, tips or even just names of nice places to eat in the area are sure to be appreciated. In any case, brainstorming some goals or things you can provide to others beforehand, will certainly help you feel more prepared for the event.
- Be yourself: Instead of pitching your business to new people or taking on a business-person persona, try to engage in real conversations that both you and the other person will enjoy. Natural and enjoyable conversations are what will lead to real relationships that have the best chance of benefiting your business in the long run. Plus working with people you know makes life and work that much better.
- Speak with a diverse group of people: Instead of trying to only speak with people in your field or who are similar to you, try networking with people of different races, genders, ages and occupations. Not only will this make your conversations more interesting, it will also provide a broader cross-section of people who you may be able to help or who may be able to help you.Limiting yourself to events held for people in the biotech industry, for example, will lead you to miss out on lawyers (which would be a shame), marketing strategists, programmers and other successful people who can help your business. That being said, try to attend various types of networking events where you will find different groups of people.
- Have fun and be engaging: people are drawn to other people who are fun and interesting. Networking should be a fun part of business that allows you to enjoy yourself after work. Being able to laugh and connect with people about non-work-related topics will help you relieve stress and will make others want to be around you.By being engaging, you will make a stronger impression than if you simply hand out business cards and talk about your work throughout the entire networking event.
- Send a follow-up shortly after the event: within 24 hours of the event, make sure to send a follow-up email, Facebook or LinkedIn message to the people with whom you spoke. This courtesy will make you stand out even if you did not speak with the person about business during the event. It will also allow people with whom you are interested in forming a business relationship that you value meeting them and are serious about your business.
- Don’t just continually network, continually engage: Once you have attended an event and met people make sure to continue to engage those contacts in the future weeks. Instead of bouncing from one event to the next, take some time to meet up with people several weeks after the event to follow up on more business-related matters.If you have already sent a LinkedIn, Facebook or email follow-up shortly after the event and the other person seems interested in continuing the relationship, try meeting up for lunch or coffee to discuss matters further.
- Do not monopolize other people’s time: Instead of trying to think of other topics after a conversation has gone dry, thank the other person for speaking with you and move on. Try to have meaningful conversations with several people instead of clinging to the first person you speak throughout the entire event.Likewise, make sure that you are able to thank the other person for their time and politely excuse yourself if you feel that the conversation has come to its nature ending point.
About Fourscore Business Law:
Based in the Research Triangle region of North Carolina, Fourscore Business Law serves entrepreneurs and businesses in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Wilmington, Charlotte and throughout the Southeast. We also represent venture capital funds and other investors who invest in companies located in New York, Silicon Valley and everywhere between.
The idea of delivering maximum impact in a simple and succinct manner is what we’re calling the Fourscore Principle. And that is what Fourscore Business Law is based on. Our clients operate in a broad range of industries including tech, IoT, consumer products, B2B services and more. Questions? Shoot us an email or give us a call at (919) 307-5356. Your first call is on us.