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How prepared are you for business networking?
Fri 16 September 2011
When delivering a presentation or doing some public speaking – then the mantra is always ‘Rehearse, then Rehearse and then Rehearse some more’.
Ultimately the message, as any boy scout or girl guide will know, is ‘Be Prepared’.
The same ethos goes for how you think and go about your business networking.
Preparation is key – if you are going to a networking event, then do your best to find out who is going to be there:
· Research – find out from the event organisers a list of delegates. Preferably not just their names but their websites and company names. That way you can take a quick look at their website and get a better impression of what they do, who they are and consider any potentials for how you could be working together going forward.
And of course, in the days of ‘social media’ – check out and see if they are on Linked In, Twitter, Facebook – these channels are a great resource for researching. Linked In provides a wealth of information about individuals – and Twitter gives you an overview of not only what they are saying, but what others are saying about them too. So be sure to leverage these valuable and very often up-to-the minute resources when researching your potential business networking contacts.
· Materials – So you’ve done your research and you’re off to the event fully prepared with a much better understanding of who will be there and the key persons you want to engage with. Be sure to have enough business cards or promotional giveaways with you. For example – if you have a product that offers a free trial via CD – then take a few with you and if relevant share those too.
Business cards are really very useful – we’re all used to them as a contact resource. But be sure that your cards are effective. If you are on Linked In – then is your Linked In address on your business cards. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I now use Linked In as a contact database – so every time I get a business card I check out that person on Linked In – and if they are there – I connect. Make it easy for people to connect with you, be sure all your ‘contact points’ are clearly promoted on your business card. You want to make the right impression and so ask yourself the honest question …. ‘Do your business cards really tell the story of who you are, are they professionally designed, on the right quality of paper and importantly – are you proud of them? Similarly – if you are sharing a www.website – then are you proud of that website too.
So often, I meet people that say to me ‘But don’t look at my website it’s dreadful and we’re updating it soon’. That’s not a great first impression. Rather to be able to say ‘Check out our website, it’s packed with more information and resources.’
In today’s day and age a website presence is pretty much expected, it’s now a key marketing resource for most people and businesses as we all now ‘go online’ to do our research. Be mindful of this, sometimes no presence is better than a terrible one.