Networking… Mixing it Up

When you have been networking for a while you start to develop a routine. You have your regular groups, you know people at these events who you always talk to and you have your one minute well rehearsed and ready to go.

This is all great and very much where you wanted to be when you started off networking all those months/years ago.

…but of course this is only one half of networking because successful networking is also about getting yourself out of that comfort zone.

Meeting New People
Developing better relationships with people you already know is key to successful networking but you also need to work on the beginning of the process – i.e talking to people you haven’t met before as well.

So this month at Coffee and Connect before you catch up with all your old friends take some time out to say hello and chat to someone you haven’t spoken to before.

The One Minute Introduction
You finally have this sorted and are comfortable with what you say, but just stop and think for a moment about all the regulars who have heard you speak lots of times before. Are you giving them new information each month so they listen with interest or are they tuning out because they think they know everything that you do?

My solution is to start with the same few sentences each time which describe exactly what I do – this is specifically for new visitors. Then I move on to mention something different each time – perhaps explain a detail of why and how I work, answer a query that someone has asked because it might be interesting for others, highlight a particular aspect of the service I offer – my objective being to try and retain the interest of everyone in the room.

Visiting Other Groups
Finding a group (or groups) where you feel comfortable and are meeting appropriate businesses is fundamental to networking success. However just because you have your regular “home” doesn’t mean you should stop visiting other groups.

The way I work is that the dates of my regular groups get put on the calendar for the whole year but I also keep a note of other meetings that I would like to get along to if I have time and I look out for one–off events, such as those organised by The Hampshire Chamber of Commerce www.hampshirechamber.co.uk/events-and-news/events/?tag=North+Hampshire. Then if I have time I will attend these other meetings on an ad hoc basis.

So remember, being comfortable with your networking is good – but not too comfortable – sometimes it is good to mix it up a bit!

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