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How to pick a winner in the networking lucky dip.
For many of us attending networking events is a game of chance. To mix up the metaphor a little more, think about a child’s Lucky Dip box. So what do you need to do to pick a winner or is it all a matter of luck?
By Brenda Thomson
For many of us attending networking events is a game of chance. To mix up the metaphor a little more, think about a child’s Lucky Dip box. At a typical business event there can be people who are employed by large corporations, people just starting out in business, people only thinking about starting a business, people from a multitude of different industries and professions. People with a multitude of different reasons for being there: to hear the speaker, to find new customers or clients, to meet new people, to create a support network, just to get out of the house or office for a while.
Who do you want to meet?
You won’t know who they are until you meet them.
Do you focus on quality or quantity?
If you focus on quality conversations you limit the number of people you meet. And you’ll never know who you didn’t meet! If you focus on meeting lots of people you can collect lots of business cards but you won’t have time to follow through and the odds are the relationships will go no-where. For most people, most of the business cards they collect will end up being treated in the same way as the gifts from the child’s lucky dip… discarded in the bottom of a drawer.
But there are FIVE things you can do to improve your odds of picking a winner.
- Know what you are looking for
Do you have clear goals and strategy for your networking or is it a random affair? If your networking strategy is to attend “X” number of events per month and meet “X” new people at each event you are playing the Lucky Dip Game. Why are you networking? What are your business objectives? Who do you want to meet? Who can best help you achieve your business objectives? If you’re networking in the hope of meeting potential customers or clients you may not be taking the best approach.
- Choose the right groups and events
Once you know who you want to meet and why, you can become far more discriminating and choose the groups and events which are most likely to provide the results you are looking for. All networking groups and events are not the same.
- Be prepared to help others
Networking is about building relationships. If you approach it from a spirit of looking for ways to help others then they will also be happy to help you in return. Ask the people you meet what they are looking for, who they would like to meet and what they would like help with.
- Ask for help
Never be afraid to ask for help. You may not meet the person who can help you directly at a random networking event but the odds are you will meet someone who can connect you if you just ask the right questions and let people know what you are looking for.
- Follow up
90% of networking is never followed up. In some cases that’s because it didn’t make sense for either party to invest further in the relationship, however I have seen hundreds of occasions where someone failed to follow up and lost a valuable opportunity.
Articles in the Synergy48 Group Networking Resource Pack
How to create a networking plan
Where should I network?
Who do you want to meet at a networking event?
What are strategic partnerships and why should I care?
Seven steps to effective networking follow up
How to evaluate the effectiveness of your networking efforts
CEO and Founder, Synergy48 Group
Brenda has an honours degree in organizational psychology and a Graduate Certificate in training and development and she is an experienced trainer, facilitator and counsellor. She is a firm believer in mutual collaboration combined with a practical, hands on tools, strategies and systems as the most effective way to achieve real results in business.
Brenda has over 20 years of experience training in communication, team work, time management, productivity, organisation and strategic planning in large organisations. She is also the developer of the Business Benchmarking Toolkit used by Synergy48 Group members and clients to identify areas for improvement in their business processes.
Brenda is a sought after mentor, speaker and trainer in the areas of strategic partnerships and networking with a difference. She is passionate about actively giving back to the community. In addition to donating her speaking fees and a proportion of every Synergy48 Group membership to provide microfinance to help women in Malawi to start their own businesses, Brenda has climbed the Himalayas to raise money for Kids Help Line and helped lay a pipeline to supply water to a remote village in Tanzania.