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Insights And Tips On Networking

Ever since I started my business I have been networking heavily and attending all sorts of business events. I keep encountering the same issues when I attend business, but especially networking events and I thought I would share my observations and tips, hoping to help fellow business folk to make the most out of their networking.

1. Presenting. People often struggle to briefly explain what they do/what market they serve/what their value proposition is. This is very noticeable at the ever so popular Speed Networking Events. Don't pitch though, rather present dropping the sales bit. Tip: Polish your presentation and ensure you can deliver it under 1.5min. 2. Lack of business cards to exchange. It happens mostly with start-ups or people who are at stage 'thinking about starting a business'. Running out of business cards is another issue, easy to prevent too. TIP: Make a business card, even if you don't have a ready product/service to discuss or offer. You can simply have your name on it, LinkedIn, contact details and do include your field of work, skills or even interests. Example: ''AI specialist, working in the field of automation. Interested in smart cities and life improving tech.'' 3. Wasting opportunities. It happens too often that people are excited about a new connection they made, but they fail to reach out with an email after the event or to even reply to the contact they have made - despite this being in their own interest - individual or business wise. TIP: Make it a priority to review the business cards of the people you've met and perceived as interesting, good working connections etc. and make sure you add them on LinkedIn and email/call them to discuss how you can collaborate, be their clients, or them yours etc.

4. Lack of clear goals. I like asking people ''What brings you to this event'' and many fail to establish an answer beyond ''To network''. Going to networking events to network can be 'good enough', but having a goal, will take everyone further, it will also help the people you meet understand what you're after and they will thus be more likely to help you achieve it. TIP: Have a clear goal and state it at the end of your pitch/presentation e.g. ''I am looking to connect with people in the tech field'' or ''I am interested in pursuing opportunities in marketing'' or even ''I am looking for new clients who would benefit from my product/services'' finishing it with a question directed to your audience such as ''Have you met someone here who you think I should connect with?'' will further help them to help you. 5. Helping people. My personal experience is that even when fellow business folk can connect you or you can connect them with suitable companies or individuals, there's lack of initiative and pursuit of helping out or receiving the help. I have no understanding and find no logic in why people would miss an opportunity to exchange such win-win opportunities. TIP: Always follow up on offers that can advance you and your business and look out for how you can help fellow business folk, good will and good deeds pay back. Make that referral, ask for that connection. 6. Not making time to actually network. I observe this at business events like conferences, workshops, talks etc. People tend to arrive only a few minutes before the start of the program and leave right after it ends, leaving no time for networking with other business folk and thus missing out on easy opportunities to make valuable connections. TIP: Arrive early and stay after the program at an event and thus make time to meet businesses that share your interests, your field, etc. 7. Asking for or giving tasters. My belief is that we sell even when we are not selling our business. And yet it has been awfully rare that I am actually offered a service or a product to test out by people at networking or business events. Yet, I think that if you meet someone interested in your product or service, it makes sense to offer them a taster, trial, a sample of your work etc. or the other way round, if you're interested in someone else's work, why not ask if they do have on offer ( but not to make a freebie especially for you) any option for you to experience/see the product/service for yourself. TIP: The easy way to open yourself and your business for the grabs this way is by simply stating for example ''If you're interested to try/see what I do/my product, I can offer a taster/trial/sample.'' or for the reverse situation simply ask ''Is there a way for me to trial/sample/see your service/work?'' I am no expert in business, but I hope these insights are helpful for folk. Please do comment and share your own tips/opinions on how to improve our networking efforts and business events attending in general.

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