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Two ears, one mouth – 10 tips for networking

With the announcement of our GESS Al Nadi event in November, we thought it would be useful to pull together the best networking tips from around the web. We all need to do it, some of us love it, some of us loathe it but we all could be better at working a room. So without further ado here’s our top 10 tips to help you get the most out of industry events:

  1. Be prepared! Don’t forget your business cards – it sounds silly but you’d be surprised how many people do, and giving out your details on a piece of scrap paper really doesn’t make you or your company look good.
  2. Think about your purpose for attending, who do you really want to meet, is the event right for your business? Do you know who you want to meet before you go?
  3. Smile – do we need to say more! It’s often overlooked but by smiling you’ll put yourself and everyone else at ease, and be seen as approachable.
  4. Take a genuine interest in others, be sincere and above all be yourself!
  5. Be able to describe your business in one sentence, if your family and friends don’t understand what you do its unlikely anyone else will!
  6. Ask open ended and easy questions, no one likes to be put on the spot and asking yes/no questions may seem like you’re playing 20 questions rather than trying to engage – as a general rule of thumb “why” questions generate the most interesting responses.
  7. Listen to people’s responses - a conversation is by definition ( noun - a talk, especially an informal one, between two or more people, in which news and ideas are exchanged: Oxford English Dictionary) a two way thing! Do not hijack the conversation, you’re there to chat not deliver an award winning monologue.
  8. Work the room – seek out groups with an array of industries, experience and perspectives, you may be surprised who you meet. Don’t stick with one group for too long make sure you move around regularly, there’s no point talking to the same person for ages if there’s no common ground, but remember it’s better to speak to fewer people and form quality connections.
  9. Ditch the sale pitch – no one likes a bore, people are more likely to do business with someone whose company they enjoy.
  10. Follow up afterwards – connect with people on Linkedin, follow them on Twitter, send them an email, call them – whatever you feel is appropriate. Get in contact within 48 hours to show you’re interested and reference something that was discussed.

Sept 2013 - Sarah Palmer