A Few More Networking Tips for Success…

Face to face networking is still one of the best forms of engagement to generate, nurture and retain relationships.

networkingIn my earlier posts Networking Tips for Success and More Networking Tips for Success I shared the benefits of networking and some general tips for success. Here are a few more tips to get the most from your networking.

To ensure that you maximise your opportunities at each event, some advance preparation is key. These few simple tips should prepare you for attending your next networking event:

  1. Phone up the organisers and ask for more information about the event, its format and how many people usually attend.
  2. Find out what the dress code is. Is it a relaxed event or is business dress required?
  3. Be certain of what you want to achieve and set yourself some goals.  For example; “I will connect with three new people“.
  4. Prepare your pitch, if appropriate. Some networking events allow you to make a pitch or presentation of 40-60 seconds. Be prepared!
  5. Ensure that you have plenty of business cards or marketing materials with you. There is nothing worse than being asked for your card and not having one to hand.
  6. Look in the mirror before you leave! You would be surprised how many people have a wardrobe malfunction or something stuck in their teeth. You don’t want your new contact to be distracted. You want them to listen to what you are saying.
  7. Check the address of the venue, look up the location, directions and parking arrangements. You would be surprised how many people get this wrong and arrive late and flustered because they were convinced it was somewhere else or couldn’t park easily.

These and many other tips are an extract from 101 Networking Tips by Sandra Garlick, due for publication shortly.

Sandra Garlick, a former Solicitor, is a Business Growth Consultant, Mentor, Trainer and Public Speaker. Sandra frequently speaks on various business growth topics including “Networking for Success“. Sandra will be speaking at the FSB’s B2B Expo about “How to raise your profile by networkingon Tuesday 10th January 2016 at The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry. You can book your free place here.

Follow Sandra on Twitter @SandraGarlick @SGBusConsulting

www.sandragarlick.com

More Networking Tips for Success

I recently published a post about Networking Tips for Success where I shared my key 3 benefits of networking.

AAW Coventry Open DaySelecting the right networking events and ensuring that your networking is effective is key to the growth of your business.  You need to attend events where you are going to meet, or be referred to, potential customers.

It’s nice to go out everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner but as well as affecting your cash flow…and your waistline, it will also affect your availability to carry out your work or simply be a waste of your time out of the office.

Sometimes it difficult to attend a networking event once, or even choose the right one to go to, and be able to make an informed decision whether it is right for you and your business.

The following 7 tips may help you:

  1. Ask someone to recommend an event or networking group to you.  Ideally, one that they have found effective.  Ask if you can go along with them;
  2. If you are attending an event for the first time, speak to the host in advance and ask them more details about the event, the type of people who attend, the format and if they can introduce you to people;
  3. Ensure that you speak to as many people as possible while you are there and find out how they have benefited from attending;
  4. Do some preparation in advance and think about your particular goals for attending the event and what you want to achieve as an outcome.  Be specific…”I would like to meet 3 new business contacts“;
  5. Make some notes as soon as you get back to the office… when it is fresh in your mind.  Ask yourself some questions such as “Did I meet any good contacts?”, “Did I enjoy the event“, “Would I recommend it to someone else?”;
  6. Keep an ongoing record of events you attend and more importantly the cost of attending.  Ensure that you monitor the cost versus benefit.
  7. Have fun and enjoy your networking.

Sandra Garlick, Business Consultant, Adviser & Mentor 

Copyright © Sandra Garlick 2016

What does your LinkedIn head shot say about you?

LinkedIn is a powerful and successful tool for networking.Sandra Web 2

I have gained new clients, made new contacts and used the platform as an introduction for face to face meetings.  Of course there are many other things that make LinkedIn the success it is today.

One thing that many people who have LinkedIn profiles fail to get just right is their head shot or profile picture. I am not saying that mine is perfect, but it has several key components that I look for when I connect with someone:

  1. A smile…Straight away the picture gives the impression of someone friendly and approachable.
  2. Eye Contact…By looking straight into the camera there is immediate and engaging eye contact.  I am always wary of people who appear to be looking into the distance on their profile shots.
  3. Head and Shoulders…You can clearly see your features.  It also makes it easier to recognise someone you may have met or may wish to meet in the future.
  4. Professional…Beach shots and those holding an alcoholic beverage in non-work mode demonstrate a lack of professionalism. LinkedIn is a professionals platform
  5. A Photo…There are still a large number of profiles on LinkedIn which have no professional photo or indeed any photo at all.  This demonstrates laziness. If, for security reasons, you are unable to post a picture of yourself online then a logo is the very minimum.

It is so easy to get a professional head shot today, and at minimal cost.  Even a profile picture taken with a smartphone is better than no photo at all.

I no longer connect with anyone who doesn’t have a head shot.  If I know them personally, I send a gentle reminder that they may wish to include one.

Sandra Garlick is a Business Growth Consultant, Mentor, Public Speaker and Trainer

Follow Sandra on Twitter @SandraGarlick

Do Business Breakfasts prejudice Women in Business?

Bacon RollBefore I ruffle a few feathers, I should say that I am not a great advocate of business breakfasts, largely because they occur at an untimely hour and disrupt my day. Additionally, I do not eat bacon baps or “batches” (if you live where I do), nor do I eat cooked breakfasts, except on very rare occasions.

I am actually more productive and innovative during the mornings.  If I attend a breakfast meeting, especially an early one, it throws out my whole working cycle and I am less productive that day.  However, that’s just me.

The reason for this post is that I saw a recent photo on Twitter from a local business breakfast.  It was extremely well attended.  However, I had to try really hard to see where the women were.  I managed to spot a few.

So what are the possible reasons for poor attendance by women in the mornings at some of these events?

  1. Women are still more likely to deal with childcare, the school drop or carer duties;
  2. It takes women longer to get ready in the mornings;
  3. Lack of confidence;
  4. Women are unaware that the events are taking place.

There may be more reasons and I know some great weekly breakfast groups that have a regular attendance by women in business.  However, I also know that many of these women have no childcare or carer responsibilities.

So what is the answer?  

Whatever time of the day you hold a networking event you are going to disadvantage a certain group. However, the next time you do, please bear in mind that many women work part time hours/days, have family commitments and other reasons that prevent them attending breakfast meetings.

Sandra Web 2Sandra Garlick is a Business Consultant working with businesses on business growth and strategy. Sandra also assists with event management and regularly speaks on marketing topics including networking tips.