Networking is on the up in Macclesfield - learn how to use it wisely and profitably
15th January 2012
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You may be a 'seasoned' networker or you could be nervously contemplating attending your first networking event.


Whichever camp you fall into, there are always points to remember to ensure you get the best out of these meetings.


Relax and be yourself


The main thing to keep in mind is that networking is about being genuine, building trust and relationships. The point of these events is about meeting people, so there is no question that the majority of people there will want to speak with you.



Learn how to make small talk


Practice at home, on the kids, their teachers or in shops. Making small talk is a skill that will get you through those first initial moments of an important connection, or the awkwardness of finding yourself in a room where you know no-one! It can help you get to know colleagues and clients better – and lets them know you better, too.


Let the other person talk first  


Letting the other person talk first shows your willingness to listen to the other person and will also give you useful information to help you tailor what you say in return. Aim to come away from an event having heard more than you have said.



Don't focus on finance


Securing profitable connections through networking events doesn't happen overnight. Concentrate on the other benefits such as inspiration, rewarding relationships and new ideas that can be gained by mixing with others in business. Don’t expect to walk into a room full of strangers and come away with business – it just doesn’t work like that!

Be prepared 


Always have a good supply of professional business cards to hand. Some events encourage distribution of company flyers or other promotional materials, others are less 'sales' orientated. Its a good idea to start low key - you want people to remember you, not your glossy brochure - time for those at a later date.


You are there primarily to help others 


Whilst it would be nice if they helped you out as well, networking is a two–way street. See your side as being about helping others, not asking them to help you. Asking for favours should only become a possibility once you have learned more about the person and provided some value to them.



Always follow up contacts


When you meet someone at an event follow up with a simple personal e-mail or telephone call confirming where you met and what action, if any, was agreed. Prompt follow-ups are essential. Find out which online networks they use and connect with them if you are also a member. 


Have fun! 


Think of it as a social event with business potential, and a chance to expand and enhance your reputation. Be friendly, professional and approachable and you won't go far wrong.


You may find a good place to start is The Business Hub, who hold regular meetings in Macclesfield and surrounding areas.


Also, Macclesfield Chamber of Commerce hosts Networking events, and will undoubtedly point you in the direction of others in the area.




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