I recently attended a networking group that I hadn’t visited before.
Even though I have been frequenting meetings for about 5 years now, theres always a degree of nerves before walking into somewhere that may be full of strangers.
One thing I’ve learnt is to take a very relaxed approach to meeting people and if I only talk to a couple of people during the time we have then so be it as long as we get on and have something to talk about.
At this particular meeting I got chatting to a marketing manager who was attending his first networking meeting of any type, I believe.
I spoke to him mainly about his business and marketing strategies including obviously the value of networking.
I quite often get the impression that new networkers get itchy feet after a few minutes and think that they should be trying to talk to other attendeees who may be potential direct clients.
This way in their mind they have not wasted the time that they have taken out of their working day.
Now as more seasoned networkers, we know that hunting down potential clients for a quick kill isn’t how this process works but even if you point this out to a new networker it takes a while for most people to take the whole reasoning and ethos on board.
I remember thinking that I needed to speak to people in my clients sectors rather than just chatting and getting to know people who may in time refer you to their contacts or may just be able to help your business in other ways.
So my reason for writing this blog is to say, if you are a more experienced at networking and you know someone whose going to be attending their first meeting soon, it would be really helpful for them to get some advice on how the process works and how they should approach it all with a relaxed and long term view.
If they go in looking for a short term sales opportunity then the whole experience could actually be a lot more enjoyable as well.
I’m not putting myself up as a networking guru or the most connected person in the world but I do have a few contacts in my database.
I’ve sent this guy an email with all the local networking groups information and told him to let me know if he wants an invite to any of them.
So far he hasn’t responded at all, so maybe he was put off or just doesn’t quite get how it all works yet.
Even though he probably feels like he didn’t collect enough business cards that day, I could connect him up to various groups and contacts that could be beneficial to him in the long term.
So for your good deed as a networker, why not hand out some friendly advice to people new to it. On how to approach their journey and maybe take them along to their first meeting and show them how it’s done.
If they see it’s just about being at ease, chatting to people you get on with and seeing how you could help them out, then maybe they will have a good time and keep coming back for more.
That way they will also probably get a lot more in return in the long run.
Thanks for reading.