Networking is a vital business tool, says marketing expert Kim Morrison
While Covid restrictions haven’t yet been lifted, the opportunities to network are starting to open up again. The reality is the more you get out there and network, the more you’ll meet people with whom you can create profitable win-win relationships. So, a key to success with power networking is to regularly find networking opportunities and take advantage of them. Here are 8 ways to find places to network.
Check out networking sites where people list events you can attend. The most popular ones are Meetup and Eventbrite. They list meetings in your local area based around various themes, and it’s an easy way to find events to attend near you.
In the same way, you can find events listed on social media. People will advertise opportunities in their news feed and some platforms like Facebook allow you to create events. Use the search function to look for networking opportunities using relevant keywords. However, if your potential clients are other businesses then I would highly recommend LinkedIn as the place to network.
Friends and colleagues
Keep in steady touch with friends and colleagues and you’ll naturally hear about opportunities to network. You can find great places to go through word of mouth and have someone to attend with.
The local business community
Connect with your local business community and look for events happening around town. A great way to get information in one place is to join your locality’s Chamber of Commerce. Another benefit is that you’ll become better known in the offline business community.
Look for organisations in your industry that you can join. They’ll often host events where you can meet other professionals in your field.
Influencers in your niche
Follow influencers in your niche. These are people who are the most active on social media and individuals who people listen to. They’ll often talk about events and opportunities that they’re excited about attending.
Speeches and presentations
Although they’re not specifically designed for networking, speeches and presentations are sometimes good opportunities to network. Look for presentations where the people you would want to connect with are attending.
Create your own event
Host your own networking event. You can advertise it on social media and other online marketing channels. Include speakers, activities, and refreshments to give people something to do.
Making the most of your networking opportunities
Because it takes a great deal of effort to attend networking events, you need to make each one count. Start by identifying your goal and the type of person you’d want to meet to achieve this goal. Then, for each event, research who will be there to determine if your target contact is likely to attend.
Prepare well by identifying your own unique value and creating an elevator speech (usually 60-seconds maximum) that explains who you are, what you do, and the benefits of knowing you.
Get organised with a plan for following up with those you meet
so you can start building a relationship right away.You need to attend events regularly for people to have time to get to know, like and trust you.
Power networking is a numbers game, and you learn it through trial and error, so get out there as much as you can and start meeting people today to build your business network.
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