Looking for job opportunities?
Do you want more connections and to grow your business?
How about good referrals or possible clients?
These are just some of the many outcomes you will want to achieve when you connect with people or attend networking events, with your elevator pitch ready to help you make conversation and gain good connections.
But are you making good connections at these networking events? Or are you just collecting a handful of business cards that will just get dusty on your office table? Are you just wasting your time talking to random people?
Successful networking occurs when two or more people understand that they can be valuable to each other. It is about people who share the same passion and goal and who enjoy communicating with each other just by sharing their ideas.
It is about listening and sharing what you think is valuable to the other person.
So how do you know if a conversation with a random person is valuable? How do you achieve a successful networking outcome?
With many years as a trusted business advisor and chartered accountant in Auckland, meeting with people in different walks of life and industries has always been part of my job. With many years of doing this, I've learned and discovered a lot of things about the right way to successfully network and communicate with people.
Here are some helpful tips you can use at your next networking event:
Tip #1 - Set your goal
We all have different goals for why we attend networking events or why we communicate with people. Your goal could be about a possible job opportunity, gaining client referrals or growing your business to name a few.
By setting your goal, it will be easy for you to pick the kind of group or people to talk to. Knowing who to talk to will help you have more time to make good conversation with the right people. You don't have to meet everyone in the room or talk to everyone at the conference. You just need to know your goal and priority and deal with the right people or group.
Tip #2 - Be genuine
It is hard to trust random people. It is also hard to prove yourself to them. When you try to make a connection, do your best to build trust and a good rapport. You can do that by offering what you know that might help the other person. If you show that you are genuine in offering help, he/she will feel your sincerity and will try to do the same by thinking of ways to assist you.
Tip #3 - Ask open-ended questions
Avoid asking questions that are answerable with yes or no. Ask who, what, where, how, and why to spark and open valuable discussion. By asking these types of questions, your listener will think that you are genuinely interested to know their thoughts and ideas. Do the same courtesy and enthusiastically answer their questions as well. You can also add more details and information that you think will be valuable to them.
Tip #4 - Learn to listen
Networking is not just about telling people what you do, what you know or how you can be valuable to them. This is also an opportunity for you to learn something from them. So be attentive and listen to them. Make sure to listen well.
Most of us have difficulty in listening. Sometimes we are so distracted thinking about what to say next that we lose our attention and miss our chance to listen to the conversation.
When someone is speaking try to free your mind of any distraction and just listen to the person. If the person you are talking to notices your interest, they are more likely to do the same when it is your turn to speak.
Tip #5 - Be nice to everyone
It is understandable that during networking opportunities you would only want to talk to specific people or groups. That is a wise move to maximise your time during the event. But this does not mean that you should ignore other people who are present.
Be nice to everyone. You don't have to talk to every one of them. You can just smile and occasionally nod. You never know, you might encounter a CEO or someone influential. A friendly smile makes a good impression compared to a frown or blank face.
Tip #6 – Be confident
Lastly, be confident when talking and communicating with others. Be prepared and know how you will present yourself when someone asks you "What do you do?". Furthermore, try to build rapport by looking friendly. Try to attract others with your positive personality.
Networking is an important skill to know. For small business owners and entrepreneurs, networking can be a good source of client referrals. That is why, as professionals, we need to hone this skill as we progress in our career.
If you want to know more about how to network successfully and expand your business growth, we are trusted business advisors in Auckland that can help you. We are also a dedicated accounting firm that is composed of highly skilled chartered accountants who can help you with small business accounting, annual accounts, tax returns, GST, as well as business planning and development, among others.
We are tax accountants who use the best accounting software in NZ to provide accurate, reliable and fast financial reports for business owners and entrepreneurs.
Whether you are starting a business or planning for your next big venture, we can set up the best business strategy to help you get started.
If you want to know more, contact us on (09) 576 4166 or set an appointment online today.