Business network is linking together of individuals who share the same business ideas and goals. It is through trust and building relationships that these individuals end up talking or advertising for one another. Business networking is based on being genuine, real and authentic. The main goal is to build trust and learn on how you can help others as you also get help from them.
You should have personal or business goals before you go to any networking meeting. Having goals will make it easy in picking people or groups that will help you attain them. Most meeting are geared towards making contacts, learning or volunteer work as opposed to making business connections.
It is also helpful if you visit a lot of groups that share the same interest as you. You should be keen with the attitude and tone of the group you are in. their attitude will help you decide whether the members are willing to help one another. You should also go for a group that has good leaders. Most networking groups will give you chance to visit them twice before you make a decision to join them.
You can start with volunteer positions when you join a group. This is a great way to remain relevant in the organization and it also a great way to give back to the groups that have helped you before. If you have a chance to ask questions, you should ask open-ended questions. These are questions associated with where, when, who etc. these are questions that will help you open up a discussion and they will not be easily answered with a simple no or yes.
Try to become a known resource for others in the groups. If you prove to be helpful in a group, people will never forget you and they will be turning to you for suggestions and opinions. It will help you remain visible to the group members. You should be bold enough to say what you are looking for and what you can offer the group. You should not be timid.
If you are given some referrals, you should follow them quickly and efficiently. When people refer you, your action will be associated with them. You should keep that in mind and your referral base will grow significantly. Call the people you are interested in and tell them how you enjoyed the meeting and enquire if you can meet up and share some more ideas.
There are those who are very timid, they avoid talking to people in a business meeting. These are people who cannot attend banquets, receptions or any other business related functions. If you are experiencing this, you are not alone. There are a lot of people who are facing the same problem. A lot of people cannot hold a long conversation with people they do not know, they are the same people that cannot walk into a room full of strangers.
To get rid of this problem, you should introduce yourself and initiate a conversation. Say a simple hello to a stranger and introduce yourself – you should take note of how they introduce themselves. You should use his or her name in your short or long conversation. This is a simple way to ensure that you will remember their name when you part ways. When you start a conversation, you will feel comfortable because you can control the conversation.
Use an icebreaker to meet new people or to jump start a conversation. You can tell someone to tell you more of their last conference meeting than just telling them hello. This is a way of starting a conversation that will last for longer than just a minute. Using this method, you will avoid the uncomfortable silence. Another good example is “tell me about you and your company.”
You should express a lot of interest and make efforts to keep the conversation alive. You have to show interest for you to be interesting. Your role as the party who started the conversation is to make the other party talk. You should offer a listening ear and ask relevant follow up questions that will convince them that you are listening and following up.
You should take cues and have mental questions that you will ask them later. This is a great way to brainstorm and talk about future and present projects. You will also have a chance to discuss about potential markets and clients or go ahead and building a lasting business relationship. However, you should not ask too many questions – you should avoid appearing to be an interrogator. Maintain a natural flow of questions and answers.
For you to have effective dialogue, you should be talking about a common topic. You should try as much as you can to stay on the related topic. This will ensure that you both have content to contribute and it will not be one sided discussion. You should stay away from topics that are opinioned or controversial like politics, religion, family issues or other personal relationships.
It is very important for you to overcome the uncomfortable pauses. It is your role to keep the conversation going. You should use your conversation ideas to keep the conversation going. You can use the pause to make a professional compliment about them or anyone familiar. If you have a pre-prepared material, this is the right time to use it.
Ensure you stay clear of your personal boundaries. It is okay to let them know where you went to school or where you live, but you should know the extent to which you are willing to share your personal information with them. You should evaluate the impact of personal data you give out to the overall rapport. If you concentrate more on the personal data, the business line may be lost.
In a business meeting you should meet a number of people before you leave. If you are a manager, you should take contacts and maintain a relevant conversation with as many people as you can. You should learn how to identify the right moment to exit a conversation.