Five tips on how to get the most out of networking

Five tips on how to get the most out of networking

Networking can aid business growth, enhancing brand recognition and fostering relationships.

Networking can boost your personal and professional confidence by improving your communication skills. As you interact with others more often, you become more confident in all areas of life. Networking also provides opportunities to meet new people, expand your social circle and advance your career.

When we say get the most out of networking, firstly, you must consider what you want. It could be new business opportunities, general new connections, targeted new connections, feedback on your product/service, referrals from others to your business, or to make new friends. All of this is possible – it all depends on where you go to network. 

Networking provides excellent opportunities to connect with professionals from various industries with different experiences and perspectives, which can significantly benefit your professional growth. 

To make the most of your networking opportunities, here are five tips to help you maximise the benefits of networking.

1: Location/Type of Networking Event

Choosing a suitable networking event will be vital to what you get from it. You should select a referral networking group if you are looking for referrals from your network. Some of these include BNI, BOB, etc. 

Other informal networking events held in the evening will tend to be more social occasions (usually with a glass of wine), which could be good for meeting other like-minded business people/new friends. 

Industry-specific networking is an exciting place to meet others from your industry who can share trends and insights and pass on relevant opportunities. 

Non-industry-specific networking events are an excellent way to meet a mix of people from all sorts of job roles, businesses and industries. Speed networking can be a fun way to get through to an entire room and find the ones you want to talk more with afterwards. 

Next time you are looking for a networking group to attend, think about which would be best to get what you want. 

2:  Be prepared 

When attending networking events, don’t forget to bring along your business cards, brochures, leaflets, or any other marketing materials to hand out to potential clients and customers. Your advertising assets must be professionally designed and in line with your brand’s guidelines, with consistent font and colour schemes throughout. With that in mind, ensure that all of the information on your business assets is accurate and current. The main things to include on your advertising assets are; 

Business cards – 

  • Logo
  • Tagline 
  • Contact details 
  • Your name and job title 
  • Social media handle 
  • White space 

Leaflets – 

  • Name 
  • Contact information 
  • Products/services available 
  • New offerings
  • Sale/discount if applicable 
  • Social media handle 
  • White space 
image2

Brochures – 

  • Your messaging 
  • Contact details 
  • Helpful information about your products/services (depending on the size of your brochure depends on how concise you should be) 
  • Imagery 
  • Any offers/discounts 
  • Testimonials from clients 
  • FAQ’s 
  • Case studies 
  • List of current clients 

Top Tip: Adding a QR code to your business card, leaflet, and brochure is an excellent call-to-action option; QR codes can also be tracked, which allows you to see precisely how effective your marketing material is. It could be a link to your website or your linkedin profile.

3: What to say –   

Practice your pitch, ensure you’re well-prepared to market yourself and rehearse your 30-second elevator pitch, a tool you can confidently start with when meeting new people. 

An Elevator pitch summarises precisely who you are, what you do, and the value it brings to your clients. It is common to miss out on crucial information when first meeting people; therefore, your elevator pitch is something you should always come equipped with at a networking event.

Ensure there is no fluff at this stage; it only needs to cover the most critical information. Things to include in your pitch:

▪️ An Introduction – Tell people who you are and what you do. 

▪️ A Hook – Give a statistic, fun fact or information on a project you have excelled in. 

▪️ Goals – Your mission or goals for your business, what difference does your business make to your clients 

▪️ Value – What is your USP? 

When thinking of the length of your pitch, think to yourself, could I say this in an elevator/lift? 

The other thing to practice is how to graciously end a conversation and move on to mingle with the other people at the event. This will be very personal to you and different for each conversation, but it can keep you moving around the event and meeting new people. Often, people get stuck in the same place. 

What can you say/do to get away? 

  • Thank the person for their time/input to the conversation.
  • Exchange business cards. 
  • Ask to link up on LinkedIn.
  • Say you are going to mingle/meet some others.

Top tip: Read your audience before pitching; you don’t want to go into a full sales pitch if your fellow networkers are interested in your 30 seconds

4: Ask questions and listen – 

Be interested in others as much as you want others to be interested in you. Networking is about building relationships, so the conversation must work both ways!

Listening is a crucial part of attending networking events; being remembered for the right reasons is very important. Good listeners are always remembered! Asking the right questions to those you are conversing with can make your new connections feel valued and heard, which can help leave a lasting impression. 

Top Tip: To help improve being a more effective listener, be a trampoline, not a sponge. Being a good listener goes beyond just being able to repeat exactly what someone has said to you; it requires you to bounce conversation back and forth! 

image1

5: Make sure to follow up –

The networking process continues even after the event; following up with those you have met and spoken with will ensure your relationship strengthens and grows. 

We know how precious time is when running a business, so it can seem like a chore to dedicate time out of your diary to follow up with people, mainly when you have spoken to a large number of people when networking, so setting aside time in your diary to do so and having a structure to your follow up can make this process much more manageable. Creating a template of what to say to your new connections can make this process easier, but always ensure you add at least one personalised sentence to make the follow-up feel less cold. You can reach out to people via; 

▪️ Linkedin 

▪️ Email 

▪️ Instagram 

If you have connected with them on a social media platform, regularly commenting and engaging with their content is a great way to maintain the relationship. 

Networking can make such a difference… 

As mentioned, networking is an excellent way to build relationships with others. Networking has many benefits, including helping you boost your confidence, learn new things and create more opportunities.

Key takeaway – when seeing someone at a networking event after having previously met them, bring up something they mentioned before. This could be personal or professional, such as ‘How was your holiday?’ or ‘You mentioned last time we spoke about the project you were working on; how has that progressed since we last spoke?’. Memorising what you have spoken about makes the conversation more personal and can help build stronger relationships.

image3

Our local networking event, Innovative Networking, is held at Canterbury Innovation Centre on the third Thursday of each month and is supported by I Do Marketing and Canterbury Innovation Centre; our event is free to attend; however, you must book to secure your space.

taking notes effectively

Written by Ellie Roberts

Marketing Assistant Manager

Ellie is our Marketing Assistant Manager who works alongside our Marketing Managers; she helps support the team by creating social media content and email campaigns whilst completing many more marketing tasks to assist in delivering marketing strategies and plans to clients.

Recent News

7 Social Media Tools You Can Use To Improve Your Marketing
Marketing
By websites@idomarketing.co.uk / May 15, 2024

7 Social Media Tools You Can Use To Improve Your Marketing

With our strategy-first approach, let’s start from the very beginning and follow the correct flow of tools to get the...

Read More
Five tips on how to get the most out of networking
Marketing

Five tips on how to get the most out of networking

Networking can aid business growth, enhancing brand recognition and fostering relationships.

Read More
24 Ideas For Your ESG Policy
Marketing
By websites@idomarketing.co.uk / April 18, 2024

24 Ideas For Your ESG Policy

Environmental, Sustainable and Governance - ESG is not a new acronym, but it seems to have encompassed CSR aka Corporate...

Read More
The 30-day Director Challenge
Marketing
By websites@idomarketing.co.uk / April 1, 2024

The 30-day Director Challenge

As the Director of I Do Marketing, and working with 100’s of Directors over the years I hear so often...

Read More