Guest post: Essential Tips for Business Networking by Innovate UK
Editor’s Note: We pleased to share this guest post from our friends at Innovate UK. As the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK works with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy.
If you want to be successful in business, you’ve got to network. Lots of opportunities can be found by meeting new and exciting people from your industry. In fact, some big success stories started at networking events. The problem is that some people can find navigating these events a real stumbling block. Talking about yourself doesn’t come naturally to many people.
If this sounds like you, don’t worry. Innovate UK have put together a really helpful video giving their essential tips for business networking. With their help you’ll be a networking guru in no time.
Pick the right event
When you attend a networking event, you’re investing your own time and effort. Make sure you don’t waste it by picking something unsuitable. What do you want to achieve? Research the event and decide whether it’ll bring a return on your investment or meet your specific needs. Are you looking for a new partner, supplier, investor or client? If so, tailor your approach to suit this. This process is about giving you the best chance of achieving your goals. Take your time and get it right.
Make connections before the event
It can be nerve-wracking to approach someone new and start talking business. A great way to get around this is to build connections online beforehand. This will boost your confidence, enable you skip the small talk and get straight to the networking. Take part in online discussions surrounding the pre-event buzz. This will get you noticed by others and make you more approachable too.
Maximise your opportunities during the event
When at the event, remember to listen first and don’t just talk about yourself. It’s important to have an elevator pitch at the ready. You shouldn’t approach the event intending to sell yourself, but – then again – you never know who you could meet. Stay visible during the event by using the designated hashtags on social media.
Follow up afterwards
So the event is over and you’ve made some contacts. Now’s the time to keep the momentum going. Stay in regular contact with the people you met. Send emails, make calls and connect on social media. Stay on the radar of influencers and attendees by writing a blog about your experience. Once the dust has settled, evaluate your participation. Was it worth it? Did you achieve your goals? Now it’s time to start planning for the next one.
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