Five Minutes and Fifty Business Cards

Five Minutes and Fifty Business Cards

01.02.10 The Golden Rule of Networking

Today we’re off to a speed networking event, and we’re going smugly prepared, determined not to fall into that trap. You know how it is. You come away having met some great people, made some really useful contacts and then several months later you find a pile of business cards gathering dust at the back of your desk.

It’s a fact. A massive 95% of attendees will fail to follow up after a networking event. It’s easily done as we struggle with seemingly more pressing commitments, but no more excuses. None of us are in the business of wasting time so let’s start 2010 as we mean to go on. I’m not in the habit of teaching grandmother to suck eggs, but there’s no harm in a quick reminder here and there, especially when we’re talking golden rules.

1. SET OBJECTIVES: We know what we want to achieve. We’ve had a good think about the connections we want to make; the connections that will help us move our business forward in the next few months.

2. DON’T SELL: We’re not going to win new clients because nobody goes to a networking event to be sold to. If we happen to generate new clients, then that’s an added bonus but it’s not our prime objective.

3. BUILD ALLIANCES: This is what effective networking is all about. We’ve identified who we might be able to build win-win relationships with. They’re people with whom we can share experiences and ideas and build a referral and support network.

4. FOLLOW UP: Needless to say, networking events are a waste of time if you don’t do this. We’ve already set aside some time in our diaries for following up later this week. It doesn’t need to take long. Be selective and only follow up with the people who fit with your original objective for being there.

5. STAY CONNECTED: It takes time to reap the benefits of networking. It’s all about building long term relationships, so make ongoing efforts to stay connected. Set a monthly reminder.

So there we are, the golden rules of networking. I’ll let you know how we get on!

Rebecca Pash, Marketing Manager, TLC Business

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