I’m delighted that coach and connector Sarah Stanley has taken time to put together a blog that will help all business people in the Sheffield City Region and beyond become better at networking.
Let’s be honest, be all go to networking events and sessions, but what does that mean? Does just going to something mean are achieving anything?
We must do networking. Sarah’s post here shows some excellent tips and highlights the opportunities we all have to grow business from networking properly.
When did you last meet someone in an informal situation and it led to a work opportunity?
Many people find the thought of networking daunting. For me, networking is simply meeting new and interesting people, striking up a conversation and starting to build relationships – something as human beings we do virtually every day of our lives in one way or another.
Networking doesn’t have to take place at an organised event. There are plenty of opportunities every day for us to meet new people. I have met lots of interesting people whilst travelling on the train to Manchester over the last few months for work. On a snowy day in January I met a nice guy on the platform waiting for our train. We struck up a conversation and found out what each other did. As a result of this chance meeting we have a coffee planned to discuss how my networking skills training may be able to help his colleagues. Little did I know that I would meet a potential client on a chilly station platform!
3 tips for getting results from informal networking situations
- Don’t leave home without your business cards – always have a few business cards with you just in case you meet someone in an informal setting
- Be authentic – it’s important to always be authentic. Networking is NOT about selling but if someone asks you what you do then don’t be afraid to tell them but tell them succinctly – this is your elevator pitch. You never know what might come from a simple conversation with another person and people like to do business with (or help) people they Know, Like and Trust
- Follow up is just as important when we meet someone in an informal situation – follow up is sometimes overlooked but it really is so important. Whether we meet someone in an informal or formal networking situation send them a personalised connection request via social media. I use LinkedIn but am aware that for some Facebook is the preferred social media
Tips for connecting on social media and LinkedIn
Sending a personalised message via LinkedIn from your desktop or laptop is easy as you have the option to add a note. If you are connecting via the App don’t press the connect button – press the three dots to the right which give you the option to personalise your invitation to connect. Two reasons for doing this – firstly it helps you start to develop a relationship with the other person – you wouldn’t go up to someone at an event and simply poke them – you would speak to them – the same applies when connecting with them.
Secondly, if you mention in the message where you met them this helps you remember where you first met them which may be helpful in the future.
I would encourage you all to be open to meeting new and interesting people in all sorts of situations – put yourself out there, smile and talk to other people. When travelling on the train I noticed how many people get on the train and immediately start working on their laptop, playing with their mobile phone or reading a book. I know that time on the train gives us the opportunity to catch up on work or relax with a book.
However next time you are on a train why not say hello to the person sitting next to you; you never know who they are, what they do and what opportunities might come out of it – that’s what I love about networking! Happy Networking!
The Power Hour Network: Get your networking working for you!
Sarah joins the Power Hour Network in Sheffield this April with a live demonstration about improving your networking for business and having a business that works for you!
What type of networker are you? This fantastic piece highlights different networking persona’s….we’ve all seen them, and I sure we have all been them too!
The Power Hour Network is a leading networking event in Sheffield that brings together in a relaxed environment a room full of Sheffield city region business owners and influencers, with a monthly guest delivering highly effective marketing and business training for the attendees. Put your networking skills to good use and join the event!