Your Love Hate Affair With Networking

We've all heard that a person's opinion of you is formed within the first seven seconds of meeting you, and this just adds more pressure to the whole idea of having to "pitch" your business at business networking meetings.

By learning a few business networking tips, you can be sure you are not unknowingly undermining your efforts.

One of the most important things to remember about any communication is who it is directed at. Learn how to be more effective at networking meetings and events

Bear in mind that most of the people at any gathering, especially chatting at networking meetings, are as reluctant as you to speak in public. 

And they will probably spend most of the time not listening to you, but worrying about their own upcoming slot.

Do you do the same?

Classic signs of distraction can be anything from eyes looking up at the ceiling, looking down at nails or toes, shifting from one foot to the other and worst of all - fiddling with a phone!

Don't get caught in the act. With any of these signs or any others for that matter.

Stop the hate networking relationship. Nip it in the bud. Start the love networking relationship by being prepped and peaceful about it all.

So how do you prepare for the love side of your networking relationship? How about starting off with keeping your networking pitch brief and start with a good hook.

Better still, rather than rabbit on about yourself and your business, try and find effective networking angles that will appeal to the other business-owners. Talk about an issue you have resolved or a new way of dealing with a common problem that you can share.

Start your networking with a bang.

While you might want to thank whoever was introducing you, don't spend too much time on that. Then, pause a little and start your talk properly, remembering that everyone is there for networking and meeting new people to do business with.

How To Start Chatting At Networking Meetings

Start with a surprising fact, or a contentious statement that draws attention, and has relevance for the group.

Don't make your talk a sales-pitch. Most people hate being sold to and will switch off immediately. Networking should be a conversation. If people are interested by what you have to say, firstly they won't be thrown by any slight mis-steps in your talk, and secondly, they will be more likely to seek you out in the general chat afterwards.

As you are doing your networking piece do consider why you should be there and networking with these people in the first place.

It may be to find a particular supplier or connect locally with other business owners. It may be to grow your business through networking with similar business sectors and get more business leads. Or simply to have a break and get out of your home office.

Whatever your reasons think of why you’re there and why these other people staring back at you are there too. At the end of the … err networking day, it’s all about networking with other like minded business people.

Networking Pitch Script

Finally, try not to read your talk from a pre-prepared script. It means you will be able to maintain eye contact around the room, and it will come across much more smoothly and professionally.

Try just having the main facts and figures on a sheet and practice talking about them as though you were having a conversation with a friend. We all get a bout of networking nerves at some point in our networking meetings, so take a breather and relax. I've certainly had my share - even though I am now a public speaker!

Following these tips will make you seem much more approachable. Networking can be a powerful way of raising the profile of your business, and it would be a shame to miss out.

Do you go to networking events? Do you enjoy them? If you dislike having to get dressed up and go out to speak to strangers, you could try iHubbub's online networking, where you can network with other home business members from the comfort of your own home, and wearing your slippers!