Networking horrors – and how to avoid them!
Going blank in your 60-second pitch, forgetting people’s names, or struggling to make conversation……the stuff of networking nightmares!
With Halloween just around the corner, it’s time to banish ghoulish gaffes to ensure your networking meetings work like a treat.
Walking into a new networking group can be pretty daunting. With a sea of unfamiliar faces, it can be difficult to know who to approach and how to open the conversation. We’ve all been there, so we know what a difference it makes when someone makes an effort to introduce themselves. That’s why it’s really important to welcome visitors – and they will always remember you for helping to put them at ease.
If you arrive late, you might have to interrupt the meeting when it’s in full flow. That makes for an uncomfortable entrance and you are more likely to feel stressed when it comes to your pitch. Try to arrive with plenty of time for open networking. That way you can settle in easily, grab a drink, and catch up with people before the meeting starts.
Even the most experienced networkers can get nervous presenting their 60-second pitch. One of the most common reasons for feeling uneasy is because people are underprepared. There’s nothing worse than seeing your name looming on the list without a clear idea of what you are going to say. Unless you are brilliant at improvising, it’s a good idea to write some notes before the meeting and practice your timing. And if speaking gives you the heebie-jeebies, there’s nothing wrong with reading your pitch to keep you on track.
It’s no fun getting stuck with someone who only wants to sell to you. They drain your energy and you can see them glaze over when you finally get a chance to speak! Thankfully, WIBN is all about building relationships and giving value to the group – and our members are brilliant at supporting each other. Don’t forget to listen carefully to what people are looking for and think about how your wider connections could help.
Frightful follow ups
Networking is not just about who you talk to in the meeting once a month – it’s important to follow up with people. If someone shows an interest in having a one-to-one, make sure you contact them as soon as possible after the meeting. It’s easy to get distracted when you get back to work and you can miss vital opportunities. At least once a month, try to connect with someone new in the group, even if you are unlikely to do business with them directly. You never know who they can introduce you to.
Don’t be invisible in between meetings. You can keep the conversation going by engaging with members on social media. Check you are following people’s business pages and show your support by sharing events, commenting, and tagging friends into relevant posts – people are more than likely to repay the favour. You can also expand your connections beyond your local area through the WIBN Facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/WIBNIntl and by joining #WIBNHOUR on Twitter every Wednesday (8-9pm) via www.twitter.com/WIBNIntl
I’m looking forward to discussing how to avoid these and other networking horrors in our meetings throughout October. If you’d like to come along as a visitor, please contact me by emailing [email protected]