Successful networking is an essential business skill. With the right networking skills you can make valuable contacts, raise your business profile and ultimately increase your profits.
To make a networking event work for you there are certain guidelines you would be wise to follow.
Put yourself about
The more that you network, the easier it becomes. It's important to look our for any networking opportunities that are out there. Join professional organisations, attend open industry conferences, exhibit at relevant trade fairs. All of these activities will give you an opportunity to meet new people and improve your networking skills.
Concentrate on quality, not quantity
If you've handed out fifty business cards at a networking event that has been a success, right? Wrong. Dashing around thrusting your cards into every available hand yet barely making eye contact is a pointless exercise. Making a quality connection with just two or three people is far more valuable. You should view networking as an opportunity to provide value to others, and as a bonus you may get something in return. You provide nothing but a small piece of card to the person to whom you have simply handed your business details.
Watch how the 'professionals' do it
There is a lot to be said for attending your first networking event and simply remaining politely in the background. In fact, you could seriously damage your potential prospects by going about networking the wrong way. Watch how the 'seasoned' networkers interact, and don't be afraid to approach them and ask for networking tips, they are likely to be flattered and more than happy to guide you through the process.
Look, Listen and remember
You are likely to meet a lot of new people in a relatively short space of time. Really concentrate on the face as it gives you the name, surreptitiously noting it down where possible. Chances are it may be several months before you run into that same person at another event, and instantly recalling their name and business is not just good manners, but is a measure of your professionalism, and will establish a more meaningful contact with that person.
Here in Watford there are plenty of networking opportunities.
SB alliance is a breakfast networking group who meet on the second Wednesday of every month at various venues.
BNI Edgewarebury (Bushey) (Business Network International) hold events every Friday at Bushey Hall Golf Club, and these are also early morning meets.
Coffee with Cream Networking is a monthly event with a strong focus on supporting and promoting the Watford business community.
Also on our Events page you can find details of Watford Jobs Fair 2013, which will be taking place on Thursday 27th June.
Last year's fair was attended by 4,500 people and well over 300 of them secured jobs as a result. Watford Jobs Fair 2013 will be attended by more than 60 local companies and there will be seminars and skills workshops running through the day, plus hundreds of jobs and apprenticeships up for grabs. For the business person this event provides the opportunity not just to find potential employees to help your business expand, but to network with other like minded business people intent on building a better future for local people and local businesses.