The majority of professionals want and need to attend business networking events, but don’t always have the capacity to give the events the planning and consideration they would like.
So for the busy professional, here are three quick and easy networking tips for the business environment:
What do you want to achieve by attending? Do you want to communicate your professional achievements, or raise your profile? Or both? Do you want to increase your list of networking contacts? Who do you hope to meet? Why do you want to meet them? How can they assist your professional progression? Ask yourself why the other professionals are likely to be in attendance? What do you think they wish to achieve? How can you help them? What business connection could be mutually beneficial to both parties?
So you have the logic worked out for attending, but now you need to consider how to execute that plan. If you want to increase your number of business contacts, you will need to work the room and interact with as many people as possible, whilst still giving considered time and attention to everyone you meet.
If you want to raise awareness of a recent professional achievement, do you need to be more focused on a particular business contact with whom you could communicate with?
If your aim is to raise awareness of your professional ability, you need to consider who are the relevant people who would want to hear about it.
If other professionals are in attendance for the same reason as you, could that affect how you may wish to come across, and interact. If you are alongside a competitor for example, you will have to think carefully about how you raise awareness of yourself whilst alongside them – could they take your platform by creating a more personal approach, whilst you take a more business themed stance for example? In that scenario, I would suggest you consider your preferred business contact and how they interact, then match their networking style.
So you have considered the logic, and how to execute it. Now look at the whole picture, rather than each stage. Attending business networking events has more than one step to consider, in order to complete the process fully.
You need a clear idea of why you are going, a clear idea of how to execute your objectives, and a considered outcome to aim for, and act upon, after the networking event.
The outcome will be the knock on effect of having attended the event, the leads and knowledge it will have created, and your skill in bringing that information together to make your efforts worthwhile. You need to act on the outcome, or any efforts with your logic and execution will be wasted if you don’t complete the cycle.
About the author
Sarah Watson has been married to Andrew, a solicitor, for more than 20 years and has worked as a legal secretary for more than 25 years.
After observing how people respond in different ways to the corporate networking environment, Sarah came to the conclusion that there is a correct code of conduct for Corporate Wives to recognise and demonstrate, and that is what persuaded her to write The Corporate Wife Handbook.