How to make networking work for you in 2012

Over the years that I have been running Coffee and Connect I have met lots of people and some of them have really made Coffee and Connect meetings work for them and their business. I have often spoken to them about what it is that makes networking work for them and here is a summary of their advice:

Attend Regularly

Probably the most important piece of advice I can give you. The people that get the most out of any networking group are the ones that attend on a regular basis.

Networking is a long term plan – not a quick fix

Again on a similar theme – you may walk into your first meeting and pick up some business but it is unlikely – people need time to get to know you, understand what you do and remember you and your business.

Positive but Balanced Attitude

Being upbeat and enthusiastic about what you do is essential (if you don’t think your business is great then why should anyone else?) but don’t overdo it – you don’t want to scare people off!

Focus on other people not yourself

Yes we are all there to promote our own businesses but the people that get the most out of networking are those that focus on other people first – making introductions, giving suggestions for people/companies who can solve problems for others, passing on useful information etc.

Present a professional business image

Something that I often mention when writing about Coffee and Connect is that although we are a very friendly and relaxed group we are all very business focussed too and I do not see that as a contradiction. Thinking about the people I know who have made networking really work for them they are people who are also very professional when running their business. So if you ask them about something related to their business they will give you a clear succinct answer and will follow up on any action efficiently. In other words they give you confidence in them and their business.

Smile and enjoy the meetings

Relax; Coffee and Connect meetings are designed to help your business so enjoy them – enthusiasm is infectious.

Coffee and Connect Newsletter

Finally, don’t forget to use my Coffee and Connect newsletter which enables you to reach all the local business people on my mailing list – not just the people that attend the meetings – so if you have a special offer or event to promote tell everyone about it.

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