I have always enjoyed meeting people
It goes back to the days of being a young child, when I used to walk up and down the aisles of public transport and restaurants and say “Hello” to anyone that I could & introduce myself and ask what their name was. I have always been confident and friendly when meeting new people, so I wanted to share with you my
7 top tips on powerful networking!
I am the club owner of a successful business networking club in London, called the Intelligent Millionaires Network, I am also the co-founder of a successful property acquisition and investment company, called Inspired Equity.
I believe Networking is fundamental to any business’s growth and success.
Building relationships & making new contacts is both fun and important in growing your database of potential new clients, partners and suppliers. After building a successful business, I believe networking, building relationships and having good interpersonal skills, has been key to my success.
Firstly, networking isn’t just for business/networking events, remember that anyone you meet, anywhere, could be a potential new client or business partner, so try to always be polite and kind to anyone you meet, as you never know who could be potentially standing in front of you.
I once heard a great saying, which stuck with me…
“Act like everyone is watching all the time” as you always want to create a good first impression.
TIP 1: SMILE & POSITIVE ENERGY
Being approachable is the first key step of networking. Even if you are shy and find it hard to approach people that you don’t know, a smile will make you approachable and will make people want to introduce themselves to you and start a conversation. It has been scientifically proven that a smile naturally makes you happier & people want to engage with happy, energised people at networking events. Your energy and smile can help people engage with you initially and help you stand out & be memorable, at a busy event, where there are lots of new connections being made.
You will get the most from networking by being positive and do not complain. No one wants to talk to a stranger who complains or has negative energy, so keep your energy positive and uplifting and people will want to engage with you.
TIP 2: REMEMBERING NAMES
Often when networking, you will meet many people in quick succession, I used to struggle to remember people’s names. The helpful way I have adopted is:
You Introduce yourself and say “It’s nice to meet you (their name)” and then say it again in your head, so that you have said it twice (once mentally & once out loud) You then say their name again in the next sentence (or as quickly as you can) – when you ask them a question for example, which then means you have said their name 3 times, this helps reinforce their name into your memory. If you then get their card, write a quick note on the card (if you have time) or try & put the cards that you collected in order of meeting people, so that as soon you have the opportunity too, write a note on the card, where you met them & something that was discussed or that you can follow up on. This helps with remembering so many people that you will potentially meet at any networking event. Another useful tip is to take a notepad to any event. Whenever there is a presentation or speech, note down the peoples names you have just spoken with & a write a memorable note about them & the date & what event you are at.
TIP 3: PERSONALITY BEFORE BUSINESS
At networking events, people are too eager to get on to the subject of business. Whilst I understand that doing business is the ultimate goal at a business network event, people buy & do business with people, if you find some common ground on a social level first and get to know the person before you go on to talk business, this will differentiate you from the rest. People are too keen to get straight to business talk, I believe this appears too desperate and impersonal and I enjoy getting to know new people.
Hugh Hilton – from the Hilton family, once told me one of his rules of business:
“Friendship before business” He believes in building a personal relationship before business. Hugh Hilton has brokered over 5 Billion dollars in property deals, so he is doing pretty well from this philosophy.
This takes me on to my next tip…
TIP 4: 2 EARS 1 MOUTH
You will learn far more from someone and gauge whether you want to take the conversation further, by listening to the person you are talking to, when I say listen, I mean make full eye contact and don’t be distracted by other people around you at a busy networking event. Engage with the person fully, so that they feel that they have your full attention. People normally like to talk about themselves and you will find that you will learn far more by listening, rather than doing all of the talking. There is a reason why you were born with 2 ears and 1 mouth and that is because you should listen more than you talk.
Many people at networking events are too eager to tell someone all about themselves and what they have achieved to try & impress the person & don’t tend to listen or learn anything about the other person. You will often find that the most successful people in the room, are the quieter people, as they don’t feel the need to impress others by doing all the talking.
If you show an interest in them and ask them genuine questions that are not necessarily geared towards business, they should engage with you more. You can establish whether you have anything in common or it is someone that you do or do not want to pursue further normally quite quickly and then if you do not want to continue the conversation, you can excuse yourself and move on.
“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would rather have listened”
TIP 5: FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP!
If you exchange details with someone who you would like to connect with, the follow up is the most important tip of all. The speed of implementation is vital, the quicker you follow up, the fresher you will be in their mind. Quite often people who attend networking events will go to many different events, so it is vital to contact them straight away to stay fresh in their mind. An Intro email/message only takes a moment and the first contact will be to just give them your contact details and ask to stay in touch. If you have learnt something on a social/personal level in your conversation, a further follow up can be sending them a link/article to a personal interest of theirs, where you are adding value to the relationship.
I tend to do this to start with and then only on the 2nd or 3rd communication, ask if you can send them over some information on your products or services. From there you can try and set up further communications via skype/call/meeting. Adding someone on facebook/social media there and then is good, however, you still need to follow up.
TIP 6: WHAT NOT TO DO……. COMPLIMENT
Previously, you may have been told that a great way of starting a conversation is to give someone a compliment.
Now I am a great believer in making someone’s day and giving them a genuine, heartfelt compliment, which I don’t think twice about doing and in fact do regularly to strangers in the street if I love their outfit… and it’s not to say I wouldn’t compliment someone at a networking event if I genuinely mean it, however previously I have felt that a compliment can be disingenuous, especially as people teach you to give compliments when networking, so I only believe in giving a compliment when I genuinely mean it, so please don’t compliment people for the sake of it, to start a conversation, as I believe people can see through it and it comes across as being false.
TIP 7: AUTHENTICITY
Following on from tip 6, It is important to whilst trying to remain professional and knowledgeable, to also be yourself.
Being authentic is important to furthering the relationship, as putting on a front, or “faking it till you make it” as some people say, is a mistake. People buy from people and if they find later down the line that you have been untruthful at any point, this could be a deal breaker and they may not want to pursue your relationship further. Also, most intuitive, successful people can see through a pretence or see when someone is saying something just to impress them and they may disengage straight away. Honesty is the best policy.
Be positive, authentic and act like the world is watching as much as you can… you never know who you may meet…. Just remember it takes 1 person, 1 deal and 1 opportunity, that could change your life and your business forever.
If you would like to find out more about my networking club go to: www.londonimn.com