Last week we talked about different types of networking and what to expect from them.

So, you’ve worked out what networking groups you like, you know more about the different types of business you can do there.

Well how do I tap into that?

This is where networking becomes fun and fruitful – it’s about getting to know people and building relationships.

Would you recommend someone you haven’t used? Would you refer someone to your neighbour if you didn’t know much about them and didn’t yet trust them?

Let’s make it personal to illustrate: Would you ask someone to marry you on the first date, or when you first set eyes on them even? (Now, you may have done this, there are exceptions, some of which work very well of course, immediate synergy, but for the rest of us this is rare!)

Who would you do business with?

This is the key – people do business with people they know, like and trust.

If I had £1 for every time someone hands me their business card (before even saying hello) and says “in case you need [my product/services]”… I can guarantee that’s a waste of printing, trees, money etc because I know where that card is ending up.

We’re humans, not machines, there’s no button to press and that’s it we’re on. Out in the world of business networking we’re building relationships first and foremost.

So would YOU do business with you?

Let’s talk behaviours, and when we talk behaviours, again, I like to turn it on its head and think “how would I like to be approached by someone new?”.

Well, as a human being, we often prefer to be asked questions and shown interest than be talked at. Would you agree? That’s human nature isn’t it?

Unfortunately, due to this trait, as humans, we also like to talk about what we do, a lot! So, we need to be mindful and rein that in a bit.

We need to give before we can get

My first tip in any networking would be ask yourself if you are listening more than you are talking? We have two ears and one mouth for a reason, let’s use them to that ratio.

Are you waiting for the person to stop talking so you can say your thing?

Are you wondering how you can benefit from this relationship before it’s even started?

Flip it on its head, how can you help someone else? Who can you connect them with? Do you need their business?

Follow up!

It will come back to you, maybe not from that person, but if you are a person of integrity who does what they say they will then that will shine through, how we do anything is how we do everything. You will become known for what you put out there.

Stay tuned for how we present ourselves next week!

For more on networking – click here 

Kate Cherry – Regional Director

The Athena Network Bedfordshire