Networking Guide

Simple tips to network like a rockstar!

By Marian Gazdik (Startup Grind Director - London)

Key Networking Tips

Start implementing them today

When we start to network, just the thought of meeting new people seems scary. The truth is, it's like starting anything new. We need to step outside of our comfort zone and start learning. The bottom line is that networking is extremely useful and we should all be doing it. Well, only if we want to keep improving and get to the next The good news is that most people get it wrong. We have put together a handful of simple principles that will help you become a rockstar networker. Follow them and you will find that you have a strong business network in no time. 

 

1. FIX YOUR BASICS 

 There are two key principles you need to remember in order to step up your business networking game. If you incorporate them into your game plan, you will start seeing results - fast. 

Enter from the top 

The most effective way to enter ANY social circle is from the top. 

This will save you a huge amount of time. Identify key influencers and leaders, meet them or get introduced to them as soon as you can. 

Tip: When you go to a networking event, find the organiser. Introduce yourself, compliment him/her on the event (be genuine) and ask, who they would recommend you to meet. They often make the introduction themselves, if you are nice and friendly. 

 

It is a relationship, not a transaction 

You can maximise your networking success when you start looking at it as a relationship-building, as opposed to a transaction-making. People who start selling to you right after you meet them, in most cases, go nowhere. Don't fall into the same trap. Build strong business relationships in several steps. It is well worth it. 

Tip: In every healthy relationship we get what we put in. Always offer to or give value, before you ask for anything. 

 

2. PREPARE WELL 

Research the event beforehand and set clear objectives for yourself. Define who you want to meet and make sure you meet them. Prepare 1-2 interesting questions for each person you want to meet. Make it easy for others to remember you. Prepare your pitch in advance in order to make a lasting impression. 

Tip: A clever South African entrepreneur wanted to meet his entrepreneurial hero, Richard Branson. He did some research and asked the following question when he saw him at an event: "Was there a business idea that you were too afraid to bring to life?" Branson is adventurous, but the question took him by surprise. He even offered to meet the young entrepreneur later for a short one to one meeting. 

 

3. EXCEL DURING NETWORKING 

If you only remember one simple tip to use during a business networking event, it should be something very personal. 

Remember names 

Yes, there is a simple yet effective way to remember names. When you meet somebody new and they will say their name, stop! 

Take a second and think of a person with the same name that you know. It can be your friend, family member or a celebrity. Now imagine the person you just met standing next to the person you know who has the same name. Take a mental picture of both of them together. Chances are you will remember their name for a very long time. Make a habit of taking an extra second to take a mental picture. 

 

4. FOLLOW UP & DO WHAT YOU PROMISED 

Probably the biggest mistake people make when networking is when following up. Fortunately, that is easy to fix. Before you finish a conversation, make sure to 'build a bridge'. 

Agree on a follow up. ALWAYS do what you promised. When you say you will follow up by email a few days later, do that. Your reputation in at stake, don't make a bad impression and ruin it. 

People are busy and sometimes they forget to respond. Feel free to re-connect after a week or so, if you don't get a response. Assuming the person wanted to follow up, it's ok to remind them. 

 

Networking Checklist 

Here are some simple suggestions for you to keep in mind when attending a business networking event. 

PREPARE: 

• Research the event to see if it's worth attending 

• Make a list of people you want to meet (not more than 5) 

• Prepare 1-2 interesting questions to start your conversations 

• Prepare your pitch, update your Linkedin/Meetup profile 

• Put aside enough business cards. 

DURING THE EVENT: 

• Greet the organiser 

• Always remind yourself to remember names 

• Give value, ask how you can help 

• Exchange contacts and agree on a follow up 

FOLLOW UP: 

• Follow up the way you promised and do it on time 

• ALWAYS give value before you ask for anything 

• When you get no response, reconnect. 

Would you like to practice? Join our next event.