With the first Chamber networking event of 2019 coming up, here are a few simple practices you can implement that will help you to build relationships with people you meet and establish a strong referral network over time. For those new to networking, these practices can make all the difference to how enjoyable and fruitful you find networking.
Move those new relationships forward
Attending business networking events is only the first tiny step in building a network. If you attend events, leave with a few business cards and hope people will call you, you’ll be mostly disappointed. Instead, take the initiative. If you meet people you’d like to get to know better, propose a one-on-one meeting to learn more about that person and their business. Lock in a time before you leave the event if you can. If not, call within a day or two and arrange a time. Remember, you’re not meeting them to pitch your products or services, but to get to know them better, so an invitation to meet at a café is just fine.
Connect on LinkedIn
There might be only one or two people you meet at a networking event that you really want to know better, but it doesn’t follow that you should forget the other people you’ve spoken with. If you’ve walked away with several business cards in your pocket, consider connecting with those people on LinkedIn.
Not everyone you meet at events will be a ‘strategic match’ for your network, but that doesn’t mean they won’t mention you or your business to their connections, or that you’ll never know anyone who might need their services.
Make it a habit to help others to connect
Do you know an amazing networker who seems to know everybody and receives constant referrals? Observe him or her closely and you’re likely to witness another good networking practice in action – helping others to connect. As your network grows, so will your opportunity to refer or introduce people to others in your network.
This really is a ‘must do’ – you can’t expect your connections to refer and introduce people to you, if you aren’t going to actively refer and introduce within your network. It’s not an onerous task – it’s as easy as noticing opportunities and making the introductions.
Ready to kick off your networking for 2019? The Chamber’s first Business After Five event for the year will be at Kashi Indian Restaurant in Annangrove. There’s an information session for prospective new members just before the event. Find out more here.
About the author: Leonie Seysan is the Chamber's content & copywriting support partner, and director of Article Writers Australia, an agency that provides content marketing and blog writing services.