The Five Golden Rules of Networking

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I was at a client event once, at the Little Ship Club on the Thames. A good client of mine was throwing a party for some 350 guests. It was a great venue – and they threw a great party!

Having trained this client in presentation skills, client engagement, networking skills and pitching, it was especially pleasing to see them perform “for real” and I must say I was impressed with the way they practised our golden rules;

  1. Get Organised. Have one of your most senior people at the door to greet everyone that arrives, chat for 30 seconds and make them feel welcome. Allocate hosts to guests and make sure everyone knows their role.
  2. Focus on the Guests. Every host should be proactive in introducing themselves and others that they don’t know well. Never spend time talking to your own side, when you could be talking to a new potential client.
  3. Join Groups of Odd Numbers. Typically, two’s and four’s are probably engaged in conversation, which you may interrupt if you butt in. Always therefore look for Singletons and threes, then breaking in and introducing yourself is easier.
  4. Circulate, Don’t Dominate. Networking is all about finding out what you have in common with others, and how you might be able to help each other. So you need to ask questions, not spend all your time talking. Great networkers get the balance right, and leave the people they meet wanting to meet them again. Ten minutes talking to one person is usually enough, so exchange details, introduce them to someone else and politely move on – that way both you and your guest have an opportunity to meet more people.
  5. Follow Up Promptly. The next day, thank those that you met, leave a positive impression with them and if there is a reason to meet and follow up, then get the meeting organised. Don’t wait any longer than 24 hours to do this, and bear in mind it is also not a great idea to follow up on the way home on the evening of the event, as you may be worse for wear after a long day. Make notes, by all means, but do the follow up the next day.

Networking is a key area for business development – especially important in the current climate. If you would like to know more about Black Isle’s unique training methods, and why our Practical Networking training has such an immediate impact, then please get in touch.