The idea of going to a business networking event and listening to a harem of bragging big wigs can often seem like a completely unappealing prospect, we know. However, when you look a little closer, past the cheap wine and schmoozing, these events are a goldmine of opportunity and potential.
We’re not suggesting that you have to jam-pack your schedule from Monday to Sunday with business socials, conferences, seminars and product launches. Attending just a couple of networking events each month can have a substantial impact on your business exposure and customer engagement.
Here are 10 more perfectly good reasons to start making more time for networking:
Self-promotion – Word of mouth is one of the most effective forms of marketing and by going to these events and spreading the word, you can positively influence what is being said. No salesperson or representative could do a better job of selling your business than you. Oh and don’t forget your business cards!
Grow your contacts – Social media is a fantastic way to establish and maintain professional relationships but sometimes it’s nice to do things the old fashioned way. Showing your face at networking events will ensure you make a memorable impression on new and existing contacts. You may even get chance to speak with somebody you might not have had the opportunity to otherwise.
Grab opportunities – Developing these new contacts comes hand-in-hand with exposing yourself to new and exciting opportunities. If you choose to stay sat at home with your feet up in front of the box, you might well be missing out on the lucrative sales and potential openings that could take your business to the next level.
Develop interpersonal skills – Polished social skills and the ability to communicate with a diverse range of audiences is a desirable attribute for any businessperson. Attending a variety of regular networking events will help you hone in on this ability, which you can then transfer to interviews, meetings and those all-important sales pitches.
Hold targeted conversations – Instead of waiting for destiny to do your dirty work and throw the right people in your pathway, go out and find them for yourself. Attending the right networking events will make sure you’re mingling with the right people and in turn, having the right conversations. There are plenty of useful website such as MeetUp, which allow you access to guestlists so you can socialise strategically.
Build your confidence – Even just the word ‘networking’ might set your heart racing and get your palms all clammy but as with most things, practice makes perfect. Discussing who you are, what you do and what you can offer over and over again will help you fine-tune your professional spiel, standing you in good stead for future sales pitches and interviews.
Stay in the loop – The best way to stay in the know and keep update with your industry is to get out there and experience it first-hand. Networking will give you the chance to gain access to current trends, technology and news hot off the press!
Healthy competition – Positive reviews and pats on the back are always welcome but there’s nothing quite like a dose of healthy competition to really spur you on. You will find that people play their cards very close to their chests when networking, usually in defence against idea poachers and you would be wise to do the same but take note nevertheless. Listen intently and be genuinely interested because it will benefit you in the long run.
An outsider’s perspective – In the same way it’s great to check out the opposition, it’s always useful to get an outsider’s opinion on your business. Surrounding yourself with fresh faces and new perspectives will help you better establish where you’re going terribly wrong and where you’re hitting the nail right on the head.
Friendship – Planet Business can be a lonely place but going to events and meeting people with similar interests and ambition will increase your chances of finding a diamond in the rough. Having somebody on your side, with your best interests at heart can do your wellbeing and motivation the power of good.