Like it or hate it networking is part of business today. I perhaps wrongly think that it is harder for women to break into networking. To test this I reached out to some successful business women in Cork and asked them for their tips on networking. They were amazing and came back with a real variety of tips.
If after reading this you have some tips drop me an email on [email protected] as I would love to hear your thoughts.
Natasha Lynch – Essential French
We all hate those people who force their business on you in Networking situations… so don’t become that person.
Instead, listen to what your new friend has to say, ask questions and be interested. It’s about building relationships not sales. Sales will come in time.
Natasha Lynch from Essential French
Christina Giliberti – CG Online Marketing
- You can NEVER have enough business cards
- Dress to impress – but don’t overdo it
- Don’t pitch; chat. No’one likes to feel you are just selling to them – be confident, talk to anyone who looks open to it and just start an easy conversation. I’ve made the best business contacts by offering a seat, asking them to join me for a photo, complimenting a pair of shoes or complaining about parking.
- Share some of your experience – not too much. Drop a few good client names, campaigns, or projects
- Always ask for a business card from them AND connect on LinkedIn asap with a personal message
- If you feel there is business there, do at least ONE THING to help them in some way. They will be grateful and the business reception is then warmer
Christina Giliberti from CG Online Marketing
Lucy O’ Donoghue LOD Consulting
Check the guest list in advance and choose 2 to 3 people you really want to meet at the event. Be strategic about it and then always follow up the next day with a telephone call or email to continue the conversation.
Even check their profile on LinkedIn and offer to connect.
Lucy O’ Donoghue from LOD Consulting
Barbara Nugent – Transilient Coaching
Statistics show that one of the biggest barriers to women entrepreneurs growing their business is networking. It seems that women:
a) don’t do enough of it
b) don’t engage in the right type
c) don’t get the best advantage at networking events.
Men entrepreneurs have a higher success rate in growing business, and their networking skills are cited at the main driver.
Firstly, in order to do enough networking — commit to attending 2/3 events which are of interest to you and which offer the potential to meet people who may use your services. Then….show up!
Secondly, make sure you are using the networking relationship well. Men do business at networking situations however women tend to look at building relationships or friendships. Don’t forget — the purpose is to meet people who will use your service and recommend you to their network.
Thirdly, how you interact at networking events is critical. It often brings back memories of standing awkwardly at the school disco!!
i) Look for groups that are standing with space between them — an open group. Approach the group and stand about 6 inches behind two of the participants. As a matter of social correct behavior — the group will automatically open wider to encompass you. Have a question ready — “what did you think of the talk” is a simple one.
ii) Overcome fumbling in your handbag for your business card. Have a bag with an outside pocket, or a folder with a slot for your card so that it’s easy to reach. If you don’t want to be the first to give your card, ask for the other person’s one to get the process going.
iii) Remember everyone feels a bit off balance at these events — relax, be genuinely curious and SMILE!
Barbara Nugent Transilient Coaching