Networking is an essential part of running a small business. A study by the Harvard Business Review found that the success of a group of lawyers depended on their ability to network effectively both internally and externally. But it can be intimidating for those who are not used to putting themselves out there. Thankfully, technology and social media have made networking easier and more accessible than ever. Here are some tips to help small business owners network like a pro:
- Set realistic expectations. Networking is a process that takes time, so don’t expect immediate results. Focus on building relationships and connections, and the benefits will come in time.
- Learn how to introduce yourself. An elevator pitch can help you introduce yourself in a clear and concise manner. Don’t focus on sounding clever, just make sure you are understood.
- Listen more than you speak. Networking is not just about talking about yourself. Take the time to ask questions and listen to what others have to say. This will help you build stronger connections and gain valuable insights.
- Follow up after the event. Just because the event is over doesn’t mean your networking efforts should stop. Follow up with the people you met, whether by sending an email, connecting on LinkedIn, or inviting them to coffee. This will help you maintain and strengthen the connections you made.
- Attend a variety of events. Don’t dismiss all networking events just because you didn’t enjoy one. Different events will have different crowds, so it’s worth giving them a try.
- Be yourself. The key to being memorable is passion and authenticity, so don’t be afraid to show your personality. Avoid overusing buzzwords and technical jargon, and listen to what others have to say.
- Follow up. Building and maintaining connections takes work, so make sure you follow up with the people you meet. Reference something you spoke about to personalize your message.
- There are many places to find networking opportunities, such as local business groups, industry-specific events, and online platforms like LinkedIn. By setting realistic expectations, preparing yourself, and following up, you can become a pro networker and build valuable connections for your small business.
5 great conversation starter questions
- What brings you to this event/industry/profession?
- What do you enjoy most about your work?
- Can you tell me more about the project/product you mentioned?
- What are some challenges you are currently facing in your business?
- Have you attended this event/group before? What did you think of it?
5 unusual conversation starter questions
- If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
- If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
- If you could have dinner with any historical figure, who would it be and why?
- If you could live in any fictional world, which one would you choose and why?
- If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?
5 ways to help you remember peoples’ names
- Repeat the person’s name after they introduce themselves to you.
- Use the person’s name during the conversation to help you remember it.
- Associate the person’s name with something or someone else you know with the same name.
- Write the person’s name down and review it later.
- Try to use the person’s name in conversation with others to help cement it in your memory.
Part of networking is recommending other great businesses. At FixHR we are proud that a lot of our clients come via recommendation. Get in touch if you would like to discuss how we can help your business.